As the main addiction recovery program progresses, other addiction problems will surface. I believe that everyone needs to examine the codependent side of the addiction experience. Over the 28+ years I have been in recovery, I have seen hundreds of relationships between sponsor and addict. Many of these relationships could be enriched by delving into an understanding of the codependent dynamics in this very special relationship. I see no reason why the examining of these dynamics couldn’t be shared by the two.
One of the main codependent relationship choices is the top-dog or underdog positions in power. I was the top-dog—the one who always ran things and had all the answers for everyone else. The “top-dog” is a natural magnet for all those who don’t want to be responsible for him/her. Of course, I attracted under-dogs who “needed” me for everything and who generally weren’t around when I had needs. I now know that this is an under-dog game because they get everything done for them.
Not surprisingly, many codependents end up in the helping professions—policemen, fire departments, social services, teachers, clergy and medical professions. For people seeking help from therapists, be careful not to accept a professional who has your answers. No one can know what is best for anyone else. Choose professionals that offer a free session in which you can explore the helper’s own recovery. A healer can only help you as far as he/she has healed.
Early in recovery, books help much because they can be referred to time and time again. I am including some of the books that helped me. The main criteria I used in choosing what helped me was that the book had to be easy to understand. I believe wisdom is simple.
It Will Never Happen to Me by Claudia Black.
Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Woititz
Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller
Healing the Child Within by Charles Whitfield
Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions by Alcoholics Anonymous
Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
Amazon has the following topics under recovery which is in the health, mind and body section: general, adult children of alcoholics, alcoholism, drug dependency, eating disorders, sexual, smoking, substance abuse and twelve-step programs.