Cirque Lodge > Treatment > Codependency: Causes, Signs, Treatment


Addiction rarely affects only one person. It impacts your friends, your loved ones, and your work.

It can cause you to isolate yourself from others, be dishonest with family members and develop unhealthy relationships.

Codependency describes relationships where one person is overly emotionally or psychologically reliant on the other. It often involves one person enabling someone else’s addiction.  Definitions of codependency can include sacrifice, suppressing personal emotions, and attempts to control or solve another person’s problems.

Codependency in a home or family environment can contribute to and sustain addiction. Recovering from addiction may involve healing codependent relationships too.

Effective drug treatment must treat associated psychological and social problems like codependency alongside addiction.

At Cirque Lodge, our individualized rehabilitation programs treat the person as a whole to provide a holistic healing process. We treat any underlying conditions, including co-occurring disorders and codependency, alongside addiction. Our family program focuses on healing the entire family and fostering healthy relationships.

Recovery from addiction is a long process that requires determination, commitment, and help. Our family and loved ones are often our strongest source of support. Healing relationships and building mutual love and care help provide the foundations for a life free from addiction.

Codependency and Addiction

Codependency and Addiction

Codependency affects most people who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction in some way.

In a codependent relationship, one partner spends most of their time or energy meeting the needs of the other. This may involve obtaining drugs or alcohol for their partner, lying on behalf of their partner, and using drugs with them.

Codependent relationships maintain the behavior of both the codependent partner and the partner struggling with addiction. People engaging in substance abuse often need constant emotional support and have problems with money and work. A codependent partner will devote their time to meeting these needs.

As you continue to care for your partner and enable their addiction, it has a destructive effect on their lives. This reinforces their need for care, and in turn, your desire to care for them.

Breaking this cycle often requires professional intervention and learning new ways to develop healthy relationships with mutual support. It involves learning to set boundaries so you can provide care for one another without enabling self-destructive behaviors.

What Causes Codependency?

What Causes Codependency?

Several factors may cause codependence. These include:

  • Past relationships, where a person may learn the behaviors that characterize codependency
  • History of addiction
  • Current life situation
What Are the Signs of Codependency?

What Are the Signs of Codependency?

Obsession with Relationships

Codependency is often called ‘relationship addiction’. Codependents may feel defined by their relationships with others, although their actual relationships may lack intimacy and connection.

Lack of Boundaries

People with codependency often struggle to set boundaries. You may feel responsible for the needs of others or be willing to do anything for another person. You may also experience an urge to control others.


A codependent person typically devotes most of their time and energy to caring for others and will often put other people’s needs before their own.

Low self-esteem

Often, codependency comes with low self-esteem. You may feel worthless outside of the care you can give to others. You may also have poor communication skills or feel painful emotions such as despair, resentment, and depression.

How Does Fear Contribute to Codependency?

How Does Fear Contribute to Codependency?

Codependency is often fueled by fear.

The codependent partner may fear for their partner and relationship if they do not cater to their addiction needs.

The partner struggling with addiction may be scared of not being able to access or use the substance without their partner’s support.

Fear prevents dependent persons from making the conscious decisions needed to change their behavior. It stops them from establishing boundaries and taking responsibility for their actions. People might also feel that they are not strong enough to recover alone.

Treating Codependency

Treating Codependency

Codependent behavior is often deeply rooted in a relationship.

Codependent relationships may develop and reinforce themselves over many years. These patterns of behavior can be deeply entrenched and require intensive treatment to change.

However, with effective treatment, codependency can be overcome and replaced by healthy and mutually supportive relationships.

At Cirque Lodge, we treat codependency as part of our holistic rehabilitation program. We provide behavioral and family therapy, underpinned by the 12-Steps, to help you recover from codependency and the addiction it maintains.

Codependents Anonymous

The 12-Steps are the foundation of our healing process. Developed by Alcoholics Anonymous almost 100 years ago, the 12-Steps is one of the most well-known and effective addiction recovery programs.

The 12-Steps are a program focused on abstinence through spiritual growth and altruism. The 12-Step framework is effective for many problematic behaviors, including codependency. The codependency-specific fellowship is called Codependents Anonymous, or CODA.

Behavioral Therapy

Recovery from codependency requires you to have a conscious awareness of your behaviors. It involves learning to overcome your urges and instead focus on the effects of your actions on others.

At Cirque Lodge, your primary counselor helps you develop these skills through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy sessions. Cognitive therapy helps you identify the causes of harmful actions and develop skills to build healthy behaviors.

As the 12-Steps program teaches, new behaviors will help both you and those around you and will guide you to build the mutually supportive relationships that foster this.

Family Program

Family Program

Cirque Lodge’s Family Program plays an important part in our addiction treatment.

Four days out of every three-week period, we invite the whole family to the center for Family Week.

Family Week helps to heal codependency issues within the home. We provide workshops to help you understand more about codependency and how to avoid enabling your loved one’s addiction. We offer family therapy to help you build relationships of mutual love and care.

Recovery is a lifelong process, and it can be all too easy to return to codependent behaviors at some point in the years ahead. Our family program helps you develop the skills to identify these instances and overcome them. It helps you build strong relationships of care and respect that give you the strength to cope with future challenges.

We aim to make every substance user and their families aware of the dangers of codependency. We provide this in a caring environment filled with love and support and help develop the strong foundations for long-term sobriety.


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About Cirque Lodge
Cirque Lodge is a recovery retreat providing cognitive and experiential therapies, in the pristine natural beauty of Utah’s Rocky Mountains.

Cirque Lodge is considered among our colleagues, as one of, if not the premium drug and alcohol rehab facility in the country.
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