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Alcoholic and codependent?

Old 05-16-2011, 11:14 PM
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Alcoholic and codependent?

Just got home from a meeting where a woman went on and on about her 3 year "battle" (her words) with her codependency. She described herself as initially unable to tolerate other people's feelings without taking them on herself and needing to "fix" them. She couldn't let someone just be sad, or just be mad. She had to "tamp those feelings down" (her words again). She said it took her a long time to realize just how annoying that is to other people - not thinking that they can have feelings around her because she was always trying to talk them out of it.

Eye-opener here...that woman just described my RAH. I walked out of the meeting tonight thinking the whole "I am not responsible for your feelings" line he throws at me whenever I (gasp) express feelings might be something other than him trying to beat me with the AA program.

Maybe he is pretty darn codependent himself.

Knowing his history a little bit better now; his father is an ACoA and his Dad (RAH's grandfather) was the town drunk. Lots of dysfunction there, which I am sure carried down into RAH's family in a variety of ways.

Do alcoholics tend toward codependency as well?

Last edited by Tuffgirl; 05-16-2011 at 11:19 PM. Reason: typos!
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:18 PM
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Well, I'm reading Melody Beattie right now -- and she's definitely describing herself as BOTH...
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:21 PM
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I had never thought of that until tonight - interesting. I need to re-read Co-Dependency No More. It's on my Kindle.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:26 PM
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XABF owned a dogeared copy of Codependent No More. As far as his thought process is concerned, I'd describe him as a codependent narcissist. Which side you saw depended upon how close you got to him and how much he considered you a "friend."
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:33 PM
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I can't remember if it's in that one or if it's in "The Codependent's Guide to the Twelve Steps" she's talking about her history (probably in both? I'm parallel-reading them...) but I know I had similar thoughts about my AXH.

(If they're codependent and alcoholics, can't they just take care of themselves... sorry, not a good joke. I'll go to bed now.)
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
"I am not responsible for your feelings" line he throws at me whenever I (gasp) express feelings might be something other than him trying to beat me with the AA program.

Maybe he is pretty darn codependent himself.

Knowing his history a little bit better now; his father is an ACoA and his Dad (RAH's grandfather) was the town drunk. Lots of dysfunction there, which I am sure carried down into RAH's family in a variety of ways.

Do alcoholics tend toward codependency as well?
I don't know what that line actually means to your H, but Imo most if not all alcoholics are codependent, codependency being behavior that's learned in the family of origin, and alcoholism does appear to be a genetic thing.

So you have an alcoholic that was raised by alcoholics, how else would they turn out?
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:37 AM
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I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. I definitely think she struggles with codependency. She admitted to me her battles with helping others in the program. I mean isn't that what the "co" part is all about? I believe with my whole heart my A bio-dad is/was co-dependent. So, answer to your question: Yes. I believe it's pretty prominent in alcoholics as well as family members and friends.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:09 AM
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My EX is an ACOA and once I started reading Melody Beattie for me, I could see the patterns with him. He refused point blank to look at the book and chastised me many times for reading them.

Along with being needy, he had this huge desire to control all aspects of his life, which included me. When I made decisions such as going to Al-Anon, returning to school, branching out with new found friends or even having my mom come to visit me, he would relapse. Looking back over my journal, I could see the pattern of this behaviour. He once told me that he pushed all who loved him away and now that we are apart, I can see this so much more clearly.

Whatever issues have dogged him from childhood, from the way he grew up in an alcoholic home - he is not ready to face them and until he is ready, there's nothing anyone can do about it.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:42 AM
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I think by saying, repeatedly and usually inappropriately, that he is not responsible for anyone else's feelings, he's trying to "work his program" without really understanding the context of what he is trying to do. I just thought he was being an a-hole and beating me with AA.

It makes sense framing his behavior into codependency instead of just being a jerk. It explains why he struggles with me having feelings, thoughts, and opinions and expressing them - if he can't immediately fix something he gets mad and then that mad becomes directed at me.

That's also why he is only available in my life to fix something. Help with something. Move something.

I've struggled with the definition of codependent regarding myself - I can see I have some tendencies - but I am also beginning to realize the bigger codependent in this marriage is my RAH. For some reason, that just makes me feel a little less angry this morning and a little more compassionate.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post

Do alcoholics tend toward codependency as well?
My AH is definitely codependent. After reading Melodie Beatties 'Codependent No More' and understanding it a lot better, I can recognise it a mile off these days.

His father was an alcoholic and both his siblings are alcoholics too. His mother and father divorced when he was a teenager and she never sought help for her own shortcomings. She was extremely controlling, so much so that she made his siblings choose between him or her when my AH/Me and his mother fell out. The siblings chose their mother and consequently they haven't spoken for 20yrs.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:18 AM
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Funny story:

The first time I read "Codependent No More," all I could see was my AH. I remember thinking OMG! I'm not just dealing with an A, he's codependent, too!

Second time I read it, I saw not only my H, but my mom, sister, boss, and several coworkers. Wow, so many messed up people around me, no wonder my life is a mess!

Only on the third time did I see myself in those pages. And, only then, did I begin the journey to lasting change in my life.

L
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:27 AM
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Actually over these many years in recovery now from alcoholism and working with others I find myself, sending many of my sponsees (just like my sponsor did to me) to AlAnon after they have a good sound footing and have worked their steps in AA.

I find that many alkies are also VERY Co Dependent!!!!!! I also think some of it comes from, at least in my case and some of those I work with, :

If I can fix you and get the focus on you then people will leave me alone, lol Sad but true.

And there again, I think it goes back to the fact that many of us alkies came from dysfunctional homes where there was alcoholism and addiction of one sort or another and we learned in early childhood how NOT to 'make waves' and keep things 'running as smoothly as possible.'

I first had this 'awakening' at about 10 1/2 years sober, and my psych Dr was in total agreement and was glad to see that I had come to that conclusion for myself. Of course, I have seen this in a lot of my sponsees that I work with, so will not use the word ALL but will say that 'many' alkies/addicts have co-dependency issues also.

And yes Melodie Beatties "Co Dependent No More" does make mention of this. I won't give you the page, that way y'all have to read it again, rofl

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:38 AM
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OMG I am having a serious early morning coffee-fueled epiphany and thank goodness I went to that meeting last night because I didn't want to go...one of my fellows who I talked with on the weekend said if I didn't get myself there he was coming to pick me up - jokingly of course.

I posted here a few weeks back that the RAH was moving my stuff after I told him not to. Literally gathering the remainder of my things, loading them up, and driving them over to dump in my garage while I was at work. I came home from a business trip to a pile of stuff. He got mad when I confronted him about it and I was nicely asking him to stop doing that - helping is one thing...taking over is another. We had a fight about it, but not because I was angry, but because he WAS. He was "ONLY HELPING" and I was being ungrateful. I vividly recall telling him he was doing for me what I was perfectly capable of doing for myself and that was NOT helping. I even used an example of what his Mom and Sister have done to him in the past that made him so angry - owning some activity of his and doing it for him - and that he just DID IT TO ME. And now I see why...now it makes sense...the light bulb is on again. I never saw it, because when I first read Beattie's book I read it with me in mind, not him. I saw my own tendencies and have begun working on them. I never thought it the book in context to him, but now I will read it again with a different mind set.

Oh thank you all here and thanks to my HP for making me get off the couch and go to a meeting last night. I can feel the anger leaving my brain as I type these words. It's not all my fault. I am not the one continuing the crazy train ride (his words this weekend). I am responsible for my own crap but this guy has issues that far exceed lifting a bottle to his lips and drinking it down.

I see now his whole family is codependent and passive-aggressive. I am not getting beat with his program; I am the closest one to him to practice this on. He just doesn't know what he is doing yet, and I am still a newbie in my own recovery and we are toxic to each other right now. And that's ok, for now. It is as it should be.

Last edited by Tuffgirl; 05-17-2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: typos!
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:49 PM
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Ah! So happy to see that someone else has been exactly where I am right now.

RAH is acting so codependent it's insane. I'd suggest that he should attend an Al-anon or CODA meeting but I'm sure his primary focus should be on his sobriety at this point. In the meantime I need to figure out how to live with a codependent person.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:17 PM
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Oh yes! I'm a recovering alcoholic (23 years) and a recovering codependent. We get obsessed with food, other people, money, you name it. Very common.
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:57 PM
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I've wondered this myself.
My RABF had an alcoholic father & I am sure RABF has a codependent side as well.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:49 PM
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My general belief is that alcoholism and codependency are concurrent. I'm sure, as always, there are exceptions but after eleven years of Alanon and AA meetings I'm comfortable with this belief. The alcoholic in my life, who is also in Alanon, agrees wholeheartedly-- we joke about it all the time-- and she spends far more time in AA and with many different alcoholics than I do.

P.s. I'm glad you are still here!
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:08 PM
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They go hand in hand



Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Just got home from a meeting where a woman went on and on about her 3 year "battle" (her words) with her codependency. She described herself as initially unable to tolerate other people's feelings without taking them on herself and needing to "fix" them. She couldn't let someone just be sad, or just be mad. She had to "tamp those feelings down" (her words again). She said it took her a long time to realize just how annoying that is to other people - not thinking that they can have feelings around her because she was always trying to talk them out of it.

Eye-opener here...that woman just described my RAH. I walked out of the meeting tonight thinking the whole "I am not responsible for your feelings" line he throws at me whenever I (gasp) express feelings might be something other than him trying to beat me with the AA program.

Maybe he is pretty darn codependent himself.

Knowing his history a little bit better now; his father is an ACoA and his Dad (RAH's grandfather) was the town drunk. Lots of dysfunction there, which I am sure carried down into RAH's family in a variety of ways.

Do alcoholics tend toward codependency as well?
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:02 PM
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I am both and happily, recovering in both areas.
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