Monday, 15 May 2017

Learning #2 - Codependency

When I started this journey I did not know what the word codependent meant. I know now that I maintained a number of codependent relationships. I have (had?) friendships which were fuelled by drinking. I have (had?) friends where we encouraged in each other alcohol abuse, bingeing, drunkeness and celebrated this as just a grand night out.

I have been in positions where despite my protests I have been criticised for not drinking, encouraged to drink, had drink pushed on me and many, many times over I have caved and taken that drink and fallen back into my destructive relationship with alcohol.

It was a chance listen to a bubble hour episode about coping with the holidays (I think) where I first heard the word codependent. I first heard women talk about doing anything it took to maintain sobriety. I heard women talk about walking out on events, or not taking part in social occasions. I was in awe of them. I also knew right then that this is what I had to do. It took me about another five months to do it, but I knew I had to deal with this codependency and knew I had to reject the damaging relationships which held me in alcohol's thrall.

I avoided social situations. I refused invitations. I left events early. I rearranged catch ups to coffee time not drinking time. I slowly said "nope still not drinking", I slowly felt able to put up with the constant nosiness of those around me.

I have lost closeness with some friends. But realise perhaps we lost closeness long before I quit drink. My codependent drinking buddies and I created a faux intimacy born from silently colluding to prop up each other's drinking habit. I am in reality losing certain friendships that I should have outgrown years ago. Alcohol stunted my growth and held me back.

I will never again let myself be influenced to behave in a destructive way. I will not collude with others to enable abusive behaviours. I celebrate choosing a better path for my body and my mind.

I know what is good for me. I know what nourishes me. I know it can by hard to choose a different path. I know one can feel alone in this. But it feels so good to stand proud on this path, to love what you are becoming, and to feel brave, powerful and strong.


  1. Yes!
    The first time I relapsed it was because I listened to another drinking buddy.
    We definitely had a co-dependent relationship.
    I never hear from her anymore, but I know she still drinks a lot.
    I am struggling with a different friend, not in terms of drinking, but other issues.
    I am learning, but have more to learn, about how to set boundaries, even for thing such as phone calls.
    I am so glad you are still learning and you are helping me be brave and strong, too!

    1. Thank you Wendy, I learn so much from you. Xx

  2. This is a lovely post. It is funny how I have read a few like it (by Mrs D and I think Hurrah) but each time we read things written by others there is a new take on it.

    Even strangers can have an affect like this, I mentioned at the food shop, it makes you feel like you aren't part of the club.

    I don't want to be part of the club either :)
    M xxxx

  3. Thank you Michelle. You are so right. I really like reading others' blogs for this reason, we read about shared experiences but with different perspectives and I find this very comforting, knowing I am not going through this alone. Xx

  4. I just had to Google co-dependant, I've heard the term but don’t really know what it means.

    As for the friendships where alcohol was the glue, I have so many of them and this has been really hard to handle. However I am gracefully letting go and handling it with the intention of ‘no hard feelings’ ‘my hobbies have changed from getting motherless to getting healthy’. My circle has shrunk to a tiny few but I think that’s fine, I need to spend more time doing things that build me up and also spend more quality time with my family anyway.