Google’s definition of codependency: excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.
My fiancé and I have been together going on 10 years this coming March… and we love each other with a specialness I’ve never experienced before him. And he just moved out. Clearly we hit a rough patch in our relationship and when everything came to a head and the intensity level was turned up to 200, we knew we had to act. I don’t mean our relationship either because we are still very much together. We just couldn’t live with each other for a while so we’re taking a temporary break.
We have a very crazy history and are in recovery together from heroin addiction (him also from alcoholism). So we not only used together for many years, we also got sober together and have had to relearn how we are together as sober people. We met in high school and our group of friends was tight. But we both started doing drugs and drinking heavily at very young ages. For him, his first sip of beer came at 9 years old after his dad sat him on a kitchen counter and offered the malty libation to him. For me, I was 12 when my dad offered me my first hit of crack so neither of us really ever had a solid chance to stay AWAY from drugs/alcohol!
When he and I got together, I was 21 and he was 27, we were so madly in love with each other that we both fell in love while in other relationships. Say and judge how you will but you can’t help who and when you fall in love! We were both still so young and ended up continuing the addictions we already had before we got together while we were together! It was not pretty, but it was LOVE! We stuck by each other through HELL and back and no matter what happened, we always ended up together. Finally, we both got on methadone about 6 years ago (after many other failed attempts at getting on and off methadone) and something clicked because we’ve both been sober ever since! But ok… now we’re sober together.
AHHHH!!! Who are “we”? Who am I? WHO IS HE? Oh my god, it was terrifying! We just didn’t know each other sober and our relationship also didn’t know “sober”! So we had to get to know each other all over again. And THAT wasn’t easy. Like at ALL!
It was in this time that we came to realize just how codependent we were on each other. For the last 5 years, we had used heroin together; we did EVERYTHING together; we split EVERYTHING we had; we kept each other alive (figuratively and literally when we were homeless together). We could barely spend 5 minutes without each other without feeling like we were both going to die! This is when we knew we needed to figure this thing out… but it wasn’t that simple.
We are still, 6 years later, fighting codependence (click here for a link on a great explanation of codependency and codependent relationships from Mental Health America). Even though we’ve spent vacations apart from each other, and other random nights apart, this break we’re taking has truly been one of the toughest things we’ve gone through as a couple. Sometimes you need a reminder of just how much you need and love someone and taking a break is a good way to do that… but it doesn’t make it any easier! That is where my relationship is at right now and I’m learning to become ok with that… to accept it completely and not let the sadness and codependency run my life. A couple years ago, I’d have fallen to absolute pieces if this happened because I’ve grown so much in recent years. Thank the gods for recovery, man! I mean that wholeheartedly!
Does anyone else have or has ever had a relationship like this or experienced codependency? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a significant other. It could be a parent, a sibling, or even a friend. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this!
Here are some great links to check out about how to overcome codependency: