What is Codependency?

What is Codependency?

The Problem

…Co-dependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things and events on the outside. To the co-dependent control or lack of control is central to every aspect of life. The co-dependent may be addicted to another person

… Additionally, co-dependents can be like vacuum cleaners gone wild, drawing to themselves not just another person, but also chemicals (alcohol or drugs) or things – money, food, sexuality, and work. They struggle relentlessly to fill the great emotional vacuum within themselves. (from Love is a Choice)


Codependency vs. Christian Love

Co-dependency is difficult to label because so many of the codependent actions appear to be Christ-like. Aren’t I  supposed to prefer others over myself as the Bible says? Don’t I put other people’s needs over my own? How can I tell what is codependency and what is Godly behavior?


For most co-dependents the answer is in the motive behind the action.

  • Am I sacrificing my identity, desires, or needs to make the other person feel good about themselves or to keep the peace?
  • Am I expecting my behavior to make me feel loved and or accepted?
  • Am I trying to “manipulate” the other person to do or feel the way I think is appropriate?
  • Am I being compliant with the other person’s desires just to keep peace even when I don’t agree or want to participate in the particular activity? ·
  • Am I agreeing with the person so that I won’t be rejected? ·
  •  Is my happiness bound up in what the other person thinks about what I say or do?

These are a few of the ways we can check our motives to see if our behavior or thoughts are co-dependent. God’s word says, “love your neighbor as yourself”… not more than or better than

you love yourself.

The Solution

  • · We come to realize through working the 12-steps that we cannot control another person or their behavior.
  • · We come to understand that our problems are emotional and spiritual.
  • · We come to realize that blaming ourselves or others, trying to control another’s behaviors, ignoring destructive behaviors, and refusing to set and uphold personal boundaries are all signs of our codependency.
  • · We become ready to face our denial and the sin in our own life and stop blaming others for our unhappiness.
  • · We become ready to accept responsibility for our own actions and make Jesus Lord of our life.
  • · Through working the steps on a daily basis, we become willing to submit to the process of recovery and know that we will not be healed immediately.
  • · We become ready to develop accountability partners and sponsors as we share our fears and hurts, and face our own defects and work through these feelings.
  • · We will attend weekly our Open Share and Step Study Group
  • · Commit to a daily quiet time in the Life Recovery Bible
  • · Read about this area of recovery
  • · Understand the root of each core issue you identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.


Definition of Sobriety

Sobriety for co-dependency is difficult to define because it requires a basic change in the way we ourselves choose to engage with God and others. Sobriety for co-dependency involves a serious commitment to living in relationships differently than before. Instead of pursuing or avoiding relationships out of fear, we now pursue God and others out of a genuine desire

to love them well. If you are involved with God and others in ways that are better and healthier than before you began recovery, then you are on the pathway of sobriety! (for more click here)

Celebrate Recovery ® 2006


  1. name withheld by moderator says:

    I have come to realize that I am co dependent with my husband. I am trying to get to a healthy enough place emotionally and logically so I can make a rational decision concerning our marriage. I am excited to start the 12 step recovery program and feel it will help me a lot. But honestly, I can’t imagine approaching life and my husband differently then I always have. I just don’t think I can do it.


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