Thursday, May 10, 2007

Interesting Article On Codependency

I found this article, "The Codependency Idea: When Caring Becomes A Disease" by Dr. Robert Westermeyer, and I thought it was pretty interesting.

It critiques the codependency model of relationships with addiction, suggesting that there is something not quite right about classifying the love, compassion, and concern that addicts' families feel for them as a kind of pathology. I've been struggling with the "co-dependent" label myself, so I was interested in Dr. Westermeyer's approach.

One really helpful aspect of the article was that it managed to avoid the all-or-nothing type of critique that we often see in literature discussing 12 step programs. Very often, the writer either completely embraces the 12 step model or completely rejects it. I've found that it's most helpful for myself if I stike a balance between the two extremes (imagine that--temperance as a solution!). I take what is helpful from the 12 steps, take what is helpful from alternative programs like Rational Recovery, and construct an understanding of addiction and how to live with an addict that makes sense for me. Each approach has some useful tools, and it seems silly to deny what's helpful because you don't like the whole theory...particularly if you're just a person, like me, trying to find the best way to live.

1 comment:

Mary P. Jones (MPJ) said...

Thanks for the link. Interesting article, as I too have always struggled with the codependent label. I don't think that I am diseased, but I do recognize that I have unhealthy patterns that lead me to be attracted to addicts.

However, Westermeyer really doesn't seem to understand detachment at all (at least not the way I've come to understand it). Actually, neither do most people. So, either I'm a genius (as usual) ;) to have worked it out, or I have a really screwed up view of detachment (hm, wouldn't be surprising). I'm working on a blog post on that, but it will be a few days...