Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Reality Distortion Systems
Codependency, Part 3
Games with Addicts
Codependents and addicts are like magnets for each other. The codependent is attracted to the addict because they want to, “help,” fix and rescue, and who better to do that with than an addict. The addict is attracted to the codependent because they want to be enabled to continue to use. The codependent, often without realizing it, not only helps them to continue on in their disease, but can even supply them with their substance of choice to avoid conflict.
The relationship between codependents and addicts is symbiotic, and the C/A (codependent/addict) Reality Distortion System is the basis for this continued relationship. The codependent is in denial about the addict’s intent to continue using. The codependent is in denial about their enabling behavior, and thinks that rescuing the addict from the natural consequences of their poor judgment will bring them the love, appreciation, and emotional intimacy they think they crave. In truth, the codependent wouldn’t have it any other way. The addict is the perfect subject for the codependent to try to control.
For the addict, their belief is that if the codependent would just leave them alone (except when needed for a rescue), they wouldn’t drink or use. They also utilize the Fallacy of Fairness (the world should be fair), the impression of helplessness, and the often covert threat of conflict, to manipulate the codependent into, “helping.” How many of us good codependents pick their alcoholic up from the bar and bring them home? How many give them money, or buy them food, or pay their bills, tickets, court costs, etc? Addicts love this! Why change? Life is good! And the rescuing, “helping,” and fixing, gives the codependents a reason to live guised as frustration, sadness, hopefulness, martyrdom, and victimization.
This is a deadly game because it enables the addict to keep engaging in a behavior that will lead to death. It takes a great deal of work to make one’s way out of this RDS and into a Reality Clarity System, wherein the codependent realizes how harmful enabling is to the person they love, and the addict realizes they have a life threatening substance dependence for which they need treatment.
Next post: The cycle of change