You would never consider your self an addict. You could quit anytime, right? What am I talking about? No, I am not talking about alcohol or drugs or even gambling. I am talking about co-dependent relationships. CAN you quit anytime? Probably not.
Statistics have proven that some people can only exist at their best in a symbiotic relationship where one person feeds off of the other. This is being co-dependent. It is not healthy to anyone to live in a relationship like this but many people today do not know that; they don't even realize their relationship is like that.

How do you determine if you are in co-dependent relationship? You can purchase a self help book written especially about co-dependent duos. You can do research on the internet. You can check out a book from your local library. You can even join a CODA group. What is CODA? Co-Dependents Annoymous. Yes, there is a 12 step group for the co-dependent personality.

Do you have to be "needed". Do you look for things to do for other people so that you can feel useful? When you visit your neighbors do you always feel it is necessary to bring a gift or a thing of interest with you? That is one of the symptoms of being co-dependent.

In your relationship with your husband, wife or significant other are you always the "giver"? Do you always bow to your other half in all questions? Are you the person who does all the chores and takes care of the family? Do you treat your other half as a king or queen just because you think that you are supposed to do this? This is co-dependency.

Does your loved one have an addiction? Are you always making excuses for him or her? Do you cover up when he or she does not meet his or her committments? Do you tell people he or she can't come to the phone because he or she is out of town or sick? This is a type of co-dependence.

Co-dependence is not just about addictions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling. It is also about an addiction to low self esteem. Co-dependence means always having to say you're sorry. You are either apologizing for not fulfilling his or her duties for him or her or for not being fast enough to cover up for him or her. Your self esteem will not allow you to feel that you are worthy of your own recognition; that you are a person in your own right.

Until you move away from the thing or the person that causes you to disregard your own best interests, you will not recover. Recovery is not easy in any case but in personal co-dependency it is extremely difficult.

Have you ever heard the term "an enabler"? An enabler is the person that lets the addict BE an addict. If this is your position in today's world, your very efforts to help this person can be causing him or her to be worse. You are helping that person to continue his addiction.

An example I will us is my friend Connie. She will not mind me using her name. Though she is no longer with us, she spent the last years of her life trying to overcome her own co-dependence. She conducted CODA workshops over several states and tried to help them come to the understanding that she had reached in her own life. I used to tease her and call her The Mother of the Universe. Of course, it had a dual meaning (LOL). She thought she could fix anything. She actually couldn't even fix her own life but she would try to fix someone else's. She had been married several times. Each husband had been either an addict or an alcoholic. She was their enabler. She covered for each one when he could not make it in to work. She would do her best to see that there was no liquor available or to make the money scarce for buying it. She wanted the best for him but she wanted it on her terms. Connie was terribly co-dependent. I used to tease her about all of her past relationships. She was only interested in a guy if he was a "fixer upper". As she grew and learned the 12 steps for recovery, she tried to let go of her tendency to fix everything. She worked hard but being co-dependent was so ingrained in her that she eventually began to spend all of her spare time with her CODA groups. Even her Christmas holidays were spend with these people. She rationalized that they "needed her". I finally had to tell her that she was now "co-dependent on the co-dependents".

Sometimes there is hope where you least expect it. Co-dependents have no hope because they don't think they deserve it.

Author's Bio: 

PD Rivers is a freelance writer with extensive experience in spiritual topics that also include 12 step programs and co-dependency. When not writing freelance articles for magazines and blogs, she is working as an editor for Sheridan Press or freelancing as an editor for other small presses around the world. If you need a book, course or article ghostwritten for you on spiritual subjects, contact her at