January is National Codependency Awareness Month

Almost everyone - 96 percent of all Americans - suffers from some form of codependency.

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January is National Codependency Awareness Month. Codependency is a national epidemic. Almost everyone - 96 percent of all Americans - suffers from some form of codependency according to an article written by Wendy Kaminer for the New York Times. 

Codependency is disease blamed for such diverse disorders as drug abuse, alcoholism, anorexia, child abuse, compulsive gambling, chronic lateness, fear of intimacy and low self-esteem. 

Codependency, which originally referred to the problems of people married to alcoholics, was first addressed by German psychoanalyst Karen Horney in 1941, recognized by the Al-Anon group in 1951 and redefined in 1985 by self-actualization experts. Today it applies to any problem associated with any addiction suffered by an individual or someone close to him or her.

First Baptist Church of Perryville Pastor Dennis Cebulak said codependency is a problem for many people and his church offers help to those who are suffering. 

“We offer a program called Celebrate Recovery here at First Baptist Church. The program is structured after the 12 step program of AA, but also includes eight biblical principals,” Cebulak said. “The program was created to help those with any type of hurt, habit or hang up and codependency definitely qualifies.”

The Celebrate Recovery meetings are held on Tuesday evening in the Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church located at 416 North Main.

 “Anyone in need is invited to attend,” Cebulak said. “There is a meal at 5:30 p.m. with a meeting following at 6:15 p.m.”

For more information contact First Baptist Church of Perryville at (573) 547-4644.

Codependency can develop through a number of circumstances according to the Website www.addictioncareoptions.com, although a common point of origin is within the family. 

“The child of an unloving parent often seeks approval, respect, trust and protection well beyond adolescence, and their insecurities can frequently evolve into codependency,” the Website stated. 

“It’s also possible for a parent to become codependent on their child through their own fears of rejection or loneliness. Other common contributors to codependency include:

n Low self-esteem

n Social anxiety

n Verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse”

Codependency, in the context of addiction, refers to the overt and harmful emotional involvement of a person in the life of an addict. 

“Nobody suffers more than the addict’s loved ones while the addict is in the full throws of their habit,” the site read. 

“The heartbreak of watching someone go through addiction can render loved ones incapable of the emotional detachment needed to successfully convince an addict to deal with their problem. Their emotional bias can cause them to enable the victim, and perpetuate the addictive cycle.“

Codependency is a serious and common psychological problem.

“Codependency is evident in a person’s over-compliance, weak will, low self-esteem and compulsion to please. Typically a codependent person’s inclination toward excessive caretaking is a crippling deterrent to the patient getting the real help they need for lasting sobriety,” the Website stated. 

“Codependents go to irrational extremes in the maintenance of somebody else. This can occur within the family, the workforce, a romantic relationship, etc. It’s not uncommon for a codependent to see to the well being of someone else, while completely neglecting their own. Theirs is a serious and common psychological problem that dictates behavioral patterns daily.”

Understanding and overcoming codependent tendencies can require self-awareness and long-term dedication to exploratory psychotherapy. 

“Using therapy as a tool to peel back layers of behavior to find the core motivation for codependent behavior is the only effective way to prevent repetition of this inherently self-destructive behavior,” the Website claimed. 

“Unfortunately, since codependency so often grows out of traumatic events, it can be difficult for a patient to confront their own feelings on the matter.” 

The National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) urges those locked in a codependent relationship to contact them anytime, toll-free at (800) 784-6776.

In addition to the Celebrate Recovery program offered locally, the Community Counseling Center (CCC) in Perryville, located at 406 North Spring Street also offers treatment options for those suffering with codependency issues. 

For more information about what is available, contact CCC at (573) 547-8305. 


(1) comment

Darlene Lancer LMFT

Although stereotypically codependents are pleasers involved with addicts or abusers, the addicts and abusers are codependent, too. Both partners in the relationship suffer from shame and low self-esteem, dysfunctional boundaries and communication, denial and intimacy problems. However, it only takes one partner to change the relationship dynamic. That's where therapy or a 12-Step program can be helpful. For more about symptoms of codependency, see www.whatiscodependency.com/symptoms-of-codependency
Darlene Lancer, LMFT
Author of "Codependency for Dummies" and "Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You"

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