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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

You may be a co-dependent if you…

Call out sick for your alcoholic;
Wait until your alcoholic is passed out before serving your kids dinner;
Stop having your friends and family over to visit;
Make excuses for your alcoholic’s behavior;
Hide the remote so you can laugh at the alcoholic when he can’t find it;
Flatten the car tires so he can’t drive to the liquor store;
Add water to the vodka or tea to the bourbon;
Tell the alcoholic you have a terminal illness to force him to be responsible;
Withdraw all the money when the bank opens on payday to keep him from buying booze;
Explain Daddy’s behavior as him being such a funny clown;
Leave him -- only to return the next day;
Put ipecac in the whiskey;
Have a temper tantrum to get his attention;
Blame the alcoholic for over-drawing the account after you’ve gone on a shopping spree;
Minimize your faults because “at least” you’re not a drunk;
Send your children to live with your mother to keep them away from the alcoholic;
Throw away or hide all his clothes and shoes;
Get him insured for a million dollars then give him the car keys;
Move across town or across country to have a “fresh” start;
Bail him out of jail when he’s in the drunk tank; and,
Aren’t employed because your main job is taking care of the alcoholic.
Do you find any of these actions absurd? Well, I’ve talked to spouses who have admitted to doing many of the things I’ve listed above. I, myself, have done at least half of those insane things. I can tell you without a doubt, none of those actions stopped or delayed Riley’s drinking. In fact, they had absolutely no effect at all.
Co-dependency is not a bad word in my “Linda Dictionary of Terms.” There are times when co-dependency is preferable. There is a key to knowing when to be and when not to be. Ask yourself how your actions will serve you and/or your family? For every action there is a reaction. Will the reaction be positive or negative? What is your motivation behind the action? If it is to get the alcoholic to stop or slow his drinking or to harm the alcoholic – you’re probably being adversely co-dependent.
If a husband depends on his wife to take care of the household so that he can go to work and earn a living – that’s a healthy co-dependent relationship. But, if the husband goes to work and then goes to the bar and gets drunk before coming home, thereby creating chaos in the house and then, the wife calls all the alcoholic’s friends and blames them for getting her husband into trouble. This would not be a healthy co-dependent relationship.
I mean really… doesn’t the non-alcoholic have better things to do with their allotted time on earth than to just watch over the alcoholic? Don’t get caught up in this spiral – it’s not worth it. And will never give you the result you really want.
Be sure to check out the page entitled: What the Non-Alcoholic Can Do…

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