In my last blog, My Partner Is In Denial: Part 1 The Problem, I address the impact of a partner's denial, When we care about somebody who is in denial, and that denial has an impact on our own wellness, feelings of isolation, anger, resentment, fear, and frustration typically follow. Initial steps should include a focus on self-care, letting go at least initially, of what to do about the partner. In this article, I suggest some strategies to consider in addressing your partner's denial.
Codependency is an ever-present concept in the language of recovery. Partners, family members, and friends of people who struggle with problematic substance and behavior are typically automatically assigned this label. It is assumed that anybody in a close relationship with a person with an addiction is, by definition codependent.
This is a really good question to grapple with, one that can be answered from many perspectives. Let's start with some definitions found in some mainline professional addiction treatment sources.
Jerry and Carol (not their real names) came in for couples therapy. They stated that they had a good marriage, but that they needed a "tune up". Jerry talked about how he felt that stress was impacting their relationship, Carol agreed, but also expressed concern over Jerry's alcohol use and wanted him to better control his drinking, like he used to.
Some years ago I remember leading a family group at a drug and alcohol treatment center. I opened the group with the question: What does it mean to be a family or couple in recovery? Some people struggled with the idea that the non-addicted members of the family had some part in going forward in recovery.