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Co-addictive relationships: Get angry!

Co-addictive relationships

While it may take some time to define co addiction in your relationship, once you have…you’ll probably have to deal with lots of emotions, including anger.  A common protocol for dealing with anger is to suppress it and channel it to something positive. This can be a healthy attitude but in a co-addictive relationship, suppressing anger may suggest that feelings of anger are inappropriate. That is not the case. A co-addict has every right to be angry. It would be abnormal for a co-addict to not feel rage.

Here, we review anger and recovery from co-addiction.  Then, we invite your questions about both at the end.

Co-addiction and relationships: The source of the anger

A co-addict is in a relationship where their needs are not being met. They are dealing with a situation that is difficult, scary, and mentally draining.Dealing with an active addict is challenging. If a loved one steals from you, abandons you, cheats on you, disappears, puts their life at risk, and possibly yours, and/or lies to you while looking you in the eye—angerisan appropriate response.

If you are in a situation with an addict that is using, disappointment should be expected. And if you anticipate letdown, technically, there is no reason to be angry. Human nature is not that straightforward. Broken promises, even if deep down, you know they will occur, still hurt. In this way, anger is the appropriate response when settling for a co-addictive relationship.

Channel the Anger at the Appropriate Person

The anger felt towards an addict should be directed at the co-addict. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not responsible for their actions. Imagine being high, and out of your own mind, for every waking moment of your day. That is the only way to understand that an addicted person being rational, dependable or trustworthy to anyone should be tossed out of the window.

When a co-addict comes to the realization that they are acting out of habit, and dependency on another person and their behavior, they can look at their own actions as a contribution to their own unhappiness.  Although this attitude may seem severe, the co-addict should be angry at themselves. If you are tolerating a relationship with anyone that makes you miserable, only you are responsible for that choice.  A justification when you are considering leaving an addict may be that you don’t just abandon the person you love when they are in need. If you alter the angle of your outlook you can look at this situation differently. You don’t abandon the person most in need—you.

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The only help you can offer an addict that is using are these two things; a way to get them to a rehab when they are ready and tough love (the opposite of enabling—maintaining boundaries while making it clear that you care but this is for the other person’s benefit) . If you do not protect yourself from the viciousness of drug abuse, then the only person you can be angry at is yourself.

Get Angry!

In my own co-addictive marriage, when I finally grasped that my life and sanity were wasting away, I looked into the future. I saw myself in this situation not just in my twenties, but in my thirties, my forties, or perhaps forever. I became infuriated—infuriated at myself. This is not the life I envisioned for myself. I started to visualize what a happier life would be like for me. I realized although I had addictive tendencies, I was the sober the person in this relationship, so I would have a greater chance at making a change.

When I became angry at the appropriate person, the anger became a vehicle for change. When a co-addict sobers up and takes responsibility for their life, they can use their anger as a catalyst to transform their life.

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures

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8 Responses to “Co-addictive relationships: Get angry!
Leslie
5:46 pm November 6th, 2015

I realize I’m a co- addict with my addictive husband. We have fight a lot. He calls me an angry person and blames me for his addictions even they started many years poor to us getting together but I’m not. I realize through this article that my feelings of anger were normal. I did get quite angry at times , but my needs were not being taken care and I didn’t realize that it was the addiction of my husband’s. I thought he was choosing to put my needs aside. Then after we would fight I would feel bad at myself for getting mad. Now I do agree with most of the article , however, I do not agree with the part that states the addict is not responsible for their action. I can see that to some extint, but that giving them a enabling statement saying they just do whatever they want with no consequences or remorse. I think they should be held to some responsibility in the way they treat people.

Penny
1:06 pm December 24th, 2015

Dear Amanda,
I am so pleased gay I found this website, my counsellor recommended a book to me co-dependant no more and it wasn’t until I looked for it in the web, that I realised what co-dependancy is. I think I have reached the angry stage. I have been hanging in there and have tolerated so much over the 8 years of our relationship, I was 50 this year and things have been getting worse for the last 18 months. My husband has tried drug and alcohol counselling, and using medication to try and come off tobacco and weed. This was an awful time, resulting in me having to call an ambulance for him as he drank to excess, I have realise that the addictive side of his personality will not change, and know that without weed he is an angry and potentially violent person. I have receive the most awful text from him in recent weeks, and feel that what has happened I cannot come out of. He is making an effort now with the relationship, but his addiction is not manageable. I am beginning to dislike him and cannot turn this around, I am angry at myself for allowing him to control my life with his addictions and the effect on my girls. I have suggested we may be better off part, but he crys and tells me how much he loves me. He said he was depressed, but seems ok now. Whereas I am the one going the the family councillor at the drug and alcohol service, seeing a mental health councillor and potentially going to begin anti depressants. I feel lost, and don’t know what to do.

Kate
4:47 am February 16th, 2016

The drug addict is the one to have made the CHOICE to use the Drug of his choice . WELL that is a CHOice!!!! Please don’t say they don’t have choice in the matter. Geez if you have put up with drug addicts addiction you have a choice to make here either you go down with the ship trying to save him or you jump on the ship and SAVE your LIFE. The Drug addict hasn’t improved with you cajoling and wringing your hands over what the next hours are gonna bring. Get out the house is on fire get out. You wouldn’t stay inside the house when its on fire and wait to see if a neighbors have called the fire dept. Get out save yourself I speak from being in that house on fire. Please you’re worth it !!!!!!

Amanda Andruzzi
3:42 am February 24th, 2016

Leslie, Penny and Kate,
You have to understand that addiction can be many things; self medication for mental issues or abuse, a way to deal with trauma or stress, or simply started out as recreational use. With that being said, yes, taking drugs is a choice, however, after a certain point, when addiction takes complete hold, the addict loses the ability to make choices, especially good choices. In this situation, you can only save yourself. If you stay with the person who is no longer rational or responsible and down right scary to you, then that is also a choice. You made a choice to enable, to live with and/or be in a relationship that is toxic. That is the root message of the article, if your loved one made a choice to use and you make the choice to stay any way, then at a certain point you have to understand your part in the addiction cycle. When the addict cannot stop, then you have to stop. You have to be the one to let go and save yourself.
Penny, you are getting help and that is great. Dealing with your own depression will help you immensly and you will hopefully get to a point soon where you realize that this situation no longer works for you.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Jessie
7:45 pm March 18th, 2016

I have been a drug addict for a little over half of my life and my fiancé is also a drug addict. We have known each other since we were kids in grade school and have always wanted to be with each other but we never told each other. We never hung out with each other as we went through our school years and we went in different directions with our lives. I was sexually abused by my step father when from the time I was 7 years old up until I was 15 years old almost daily. I told my cousin what was going on when it first started happening and she helped me get enough courage to tell my mother. That’s when I learned I never wanted to be like my mother. In tears and scared I told my mother everything that was happening and I had it stuck in my head that mother would at least try to protect me but instead she told me that I was a liar and slapped me across my face. She told me that her husband would never do anything like that and she made me tell my cousin that I lied about my step father sexually abusing me. She knew I wasn’t lying when I told her and didn’t understand why I would lie about it. As I got older the molestation turned to him forcing me to have sex with him. That’s when I became afraid for my sister. I never let my sister know what he was doing to me, I didn’t want her to have the fear and anxiety that I have, but every night after she fell asleep I would push my bed up against hers and sleep to where when he would come in my room in the night he wouldn’t be able to get her too. I was doing what I could to protect her and if that ment putting myself in harms way then so be it. I did this every night for her. Then at 12 my mother walked in on him rapping me and I thought that I knew for sure that she was going to do something about it and I would be ok but nope I was wrong again. She told me that if either of us said anything about it he would go to jail and she would loose everything she had,- no car, no money, no home, nothing. Then later that same year I told my oldest brother. He was my best friend in the whole world and he swore to me that he would make it stop by any means necessary and I had a since of relief cause I knew he would kill for me, and that’s what he was going to do so he could never do it any other kids and so I would never have to worry and fear him anymore. In 1998 on my 13th birthday my brother went out and never came home. My brother was 17 and he went to jail on unrelated charges. He still had plans to take care of my problem when he got out of jail and to take me away from my mother but he never came home. He turned 18 that October and that was the last time I ever heard his voice again because on the 22nd of November my brother died in jail only 2 weeks before he was suppose to be released. They ruled his death as suicide that he hung himself. I will never believe that!!! My mother seemed to have forgotten that she still had 3 other kids and a pedophile for a husband. She was there physically but she wasn’t there. That’s when I started using any drug and every drug I could get my hands on until I was introduced to crystal meth/ice. I found what I was looking for it was like nothing I have ever felt before and I felt better because it made me numb, I didn’t feel anything I had no emotions. I didn’t have to sleep which was great because I have nightmares of my s.father, I could go to school and consntrate on my school work so I could graduate. It was the perfect poison for me. The sexual abuse continued until I was 15 when I got my step fathers gun .38 special and put it to his head, I told him that he was never going to touch me or any other kid or I would blow his brains out and I shot the gun at his picture of him and my mom that was on the wall then dropped the gun on his bed and I left. Time went by and I got kicked out of school, lost my scholarship for college, and became a teen mother

Jessie
8:33 pm March 18th, 2016

I have been a drug addict for a little over half of my life and my fiancé is also a drug addict. We have known each other since we were kids in grade school and have always wanted to be with each other but we never told each other. We never hung out with each other as we went through our school years and we went in different directions with our lives. I was sexually abused by my step father when from the time I was 7 years old up until I was 15 years old almost daily. I told my cousin what was going on when it first started happening and she helped me get enough courage to tell my mother. That’s when I learned I never wanted to be like my mother. In tears and scared I told my mother everything that was happening and I had it stuck in my head that mother would at least try to protect me but instead she told me that I was a liar and slapped me across my face. She told me that her husband would never do anything like that and she made me tell my cousin that I lied about my step father sexually abusing me. She knew I wasn’t lying when I told her and didn’t understand why I would lie about it. As I got older the molestation turned to him forcing me to have sex with him. That’s when I became afraid for my sister. I never let my sister know what he was doing to me, I didn’t want her to have the fear and anxiety that I have, but every night after she fell asleep I would push my bed up against hers and sleep to where when he would come in my room in the night he wouldn’t be able to get her too. I was doing what I could to protect her and if that ment putting myself in harms way then so be it. I did this every night for her. Then at 12 my mother walked in on him rapping me and I thought that I knew for sure that she was going to do something about it and I would be ok but nope I was wrong again. She told me that if either of us said anything about it he would go to jail and she would loose everything she had,- no car, no money, no home, nothing. Then later that same year I told my oldest brother. He was my best friend in the whole world and he swore to me that he would make it stop by any means necessary and I had a since of relief cause I knew he would kill for me, and that’s what he was going to do so he could never do it any other kids and so I would never have to worry and fear him anymore. In 1998 on my 13th birthday my brother went out and never came home. My brother was 17 and he went to jail on unrelated charges. He still had plans to take care of my problem when he got out of jail and to take me away from my mother but he never came home. He turned 18 that October and that was the last time I ever heard his voice again because on the 22nd of November my brother died in jail only 2 weeks before he was suppose to be released. They ruled his death as suicide that he hung himself. I will never believe that!!! My mother seemed to have forgotten that she still had 3 other kids and a pedophile for a husband. She was there physically but she wasn’t there. That’s when I started using any drug and every drug I could get my hands on until I was introduced to crystal meth/ice. I found what I was looking for it was like nothing I have ever felt before and I felt better because it made me numb, I didn’t feel anything I had no emotions. I didn’t have to sleep which was great because I have nightmares of my s.father, I could go to school and consntrate on my school work so I could graduate. It was the perfect poison for me. The sexual abuse continued until I was 15 when I got my step fathers gun .38 special and put it to his head, I told him that he was never going to touch me or any other kid or I would blow his brains out and I shot the gun at his picture of him and my mom that was on the wall then dropped the gun on his bed and I left. Time went by and I got kicked out of school, lost my scholarship for college, and became a teen mother. I stopped using while I was pregnant both times then when I was 23 my kids father asks if he could have them for 2 weeks to take them to his brothers wedding and my kids were gone for 6 years. I started using again fell for a man that physically, mentally, verbally, and emotionally abused me. I lived in fear for my life for 5 years with this man strung out
90% of the time believing that I was everything he said I was. 2009 I ended up blowing up my mothers camper cooking crystal meth and ended up in the hospital on suicide watch. 3 weeks later i signed my rights to myself over to the state and went to mississippi state hospital for 3 months in their rehab section. I had another baby in 2010 and he went to prison for beating me. I was free and I was sober so I went looking for some pills and I came across the man I’m engaged to today, the man that I wanted to have since grade school and he knew about everything I had gone through and he still wanted to be with me. After a while I learned he had also went to rehab and we are both struggling but recovering addicts it gave us both hope for happiness. We have been together since 2011. We have relapsed quite a few times for months at a time. We try so hard to stay sober but he will get the urge for some meth and before he can get his mind back to sobriety he has it in his hand bringing it the house. I can live without meth and I won’t go looking for it but I have come to realize that if its right in front of me its in my nose before I can even think about saying no. We have always gotten back to sobriety and we have people around to support us and we do really good for a while but it just happens. We have been 7 months clean and sober today and I’m starting to worry about him coming home from work one day with a baggy of dope. Will I ever stop worrying about it? Reading this page made me think of both mine and his addictions. We are both codependent and addicts with mental disorders. Will we ever get past this or is relapsing forever in our future? We have 5 kids together, my 3 and his 2. We are doing great right now our little family of 7 is for the most part happy. Maybe I just need someone else that has been through similar struggles to talk to I don’t know. Thank you for letting me get this out I feel a lot better right now. :)

Amanda Andruzzi
8:05 pm April 5th, 2016

Jessie, Please, please, please do something to turn your life around. I will help you in any way I can. You have had a horrific childhood but do not become a statistic, become an inspiration. You are someone’s mother and if you don’t get help right this very second, you will do to your child what your mother did to you, be an absentee parent. You can’t use meth and be a good mom or a good person for yourself. Check yourself into a detox, then a long term rehab and do for your child what your mother did not do for you, fight for you. If at the very least you can put your child up for adoption so they have a better life, please do, think of the child first.
I am mortified for you and what you went through but you can recover from all of this.
Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a memoir from the wife of an addict
View the Video BOOK Trailer: http://sbprabooks.com/amandaandruzzi/video/

Amanda Andruzzi
3:59 pm April 6th, 2016

Jessie, your whole second part didn’t come until after, so I did not see anything past I became a teen mother using meth. I read the second part and I just want to still say that if you both do not get the tools to stay sober and deal with underlying mental illnesses this may happen over and over again. You are doing it now by sheer will power and that can only last so long, you need to be able to stay away from it for good but that takes daily action, the right tools and lots of therapy. Your 7 children and their future depend on your sobriety.
Amanda

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About Amanda Andruzzi

Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.

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