By David Coy
It was universally understood amongst my siblings that our birth mother was an alcoholic for many years in her later adult life. Thinking back, her children have experienced a great deal of grief especially her daughters, my sisters. To some degree there has even been codependency between mother and father in their behaviors. Codependency is an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. For example, a person is dependent upon recreational drugs; their family may enable that behavior, that addiction, to keep that habit. The family frequently becomes just as dependent upon the addiction, adjusting their lives but also their way of perceiving what is normal. The addict is dependent upon the drug of choice and the family on the person addicted and the drug(s) as they ignore, deny, or circumvent. Hence the term codependent was born (Love Is A Choice, Hemfelt, Minirth, Meier).
The tragedy develops if this cycle is not corrected early. Children may model the improper parenting by repeating the same habit or become workaholics. Then the grandchildren may perpetuate the dysfunction and/or dependency and become a shopaholic, spending to bankruptcy. It is estimated in 2017 that more than 20 million Americans, age 12 and older, were addicted and required treatment for drug use. Today codependency is estimated above 100 million. Therefore, there is a serious rise in the development of health issues, mentally and physically, over the last several decades as well as a increase in grief in families with these struggles. There is hope. We must love one another as we do ourselves and seek help where we can, even for our own obsessive compulsions if needed.
This is Sunrise Aftercare, firstname.lastname@example.org.