Last week I stumbled across an article on Twitter titled, “Why the Codependency Myth of Drug Addiction Needs to Die.” The piece was written by author and reporter, Maia Szalavitz.
In the article, Szalavitz refers to the concept of codependency as not only dubious but one that is “inaccurate, unscientific, and harmful.”
And although the article initially challenges the concept of codependency through the lens of heroin addiction, it quickly becomes clear that codependency, at least in this article, is viewed as “terrible and unethical,” across the entire spectrum of addiction. So regardless of the addiction, whether it’s drugs, alcohol or otherwise, codependency has been reduced to nothing more than an outdated fad from the 1980s – a concept that Szalavitz and others in this piece believe has caused families and recovery in general more harm than good.
So, if your jaw just dropped or if you’re shaking your head and feeling incredibly confused, don’t worry, that’s about the same reaction I had when I first read this piece a week ago.
And that’s why I knew I had to share it with you.
One of the first ideas I learned to understand and embrace, as a loved one of several addicts and alcoholics, was the concept of codependency. It’s something that’s ingrained so deeply into my recovery playbook that it makes me defensive and even a bit angry that someone like Szalavitz, or anyone, would so blatantly discredit the concept.
I mean, my relationship with my dad, an emotionally unavailable alcoholic, completely changed for the better, after I randomly discovered Melody Beattie’s book, Codependent No More, on my roommate’s bookshelf. I honestly don’t know where I would be today without that book which makes Szalavitz’s article, for me at least, difficult, even impossible, to accept.
But at the same time, I’m trying to keep an open mind.
Which is why we’re going to do something a little bit different today. Instead of a post where I share advice, I want to hear from you. Specifically, I want to hear your reactions and thoughts around this idea that codependency is just a myth that needs to die.
Here’s What To Do Next.
#1 – Read The Article
Below, I’ve left a link to, “Why the Codependency Myth of Drug Addiction Needs to Die.” It’s a relatively short article, one that you can no doubt read in one sitting.
#2 – Leave Your Reactions, Ideas and Insights In The Comment Section
Below the link to the article, I’ve left some questions to get your ideas flowing and the discussion started. You can either answer those directly in the comment section OR you can just leave your reactions, thoughts, experiences and insights. It’s completely up to you.
My goal here is to inspire a healthy discussion around our experiences with addiction. I’ve personally found as a – daughter, aunt, sister, cousin, niece and friend to many addicts and alcoholics – that my experiences and opinions are often overlooked, assumed and discounted.
That’s why I firmly believe, in order to truly understand the problem of addiction and create recovery that works, we, as family members and loves ones, need to be heard. We need to be part of the discussion. We need to tell our side of the story.
Remember, your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
As always, thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!
Until next Tuesday,
Step #1 – Read The Article
Click the link to read – “Why the Codependency Myth of Drug Addiction Needs to Die.”
Step #2 – Leave Your Reactions, Ideas And Insights In The Comment Section
Whether you agree with the article or not, this is your chance to sound off and share your thoughts, ideas and insights.
If you’d like some help getting started, I’ve left a few questions below for you to consider.
And if not, you can head right to the comment section and share why you agree or don’t agree with the idea that codependency needs to die.
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.
Questions To Consider:
1) Szalavitz and other experts refer to the concept of codependency as – a myth, dubious, inaccurate, unscientific, harmful, terrible, unethical and as a “useless phrase.” In your experience has the idea of codependency caused your family harm? If you disagree with these descriptions, why? Has the concept of codependency, your understanding of it and how you’ve applied it to your relationship with an addicted loved one, helped or harmed your recovery?
2) Szalavitz sees codependency as being purely anecdotal and argues that in order to treat addiction we must strictly follow evidence backed solutions. She writes, “The good news is that the addictions field is slowly coming around to the idea that treatment should be based on evidence, not anecdote.”
Do you think this is the right approach? Do you think that addiction recovery can only be based on what can be scientifically based and proven? Or do you agree that we need to leave room for what can’t be proven scientifically? Do you have a personal experience with an addicted loved one to share that would illustrate why you agree or disagree?
3) In the article, Carol Tavris, author of the book, The Mismeasure of Women said, ”Codependence was a fad that caught fire and hasn’t burned out.” Has this been your experience with the concept? Do you agree or disagree and why.