Telling Others about Your Recovery from Codependency

By Darlene Lancer

Your recovery is for you, and you’re entitled to privacy about your therapy, meetings, and anything else. Some people will not want you to get counseling or attend meetings in order to control you for some of the following reasons:

  • They’re afraid you’ll leave.

  • They’re afraid you’ll get stronger and challenge them.

  • They want to continue their addiction.

  • They’re ashamed and afraid you’ll make them look bad.

As you can see, their motivations are fear and shame. If you’re worried that your partner will be abusive or undermine your recovery, wait until you’re stronger and have the words and support to deal with an abusive reaction. You have more power than you realize. If you decide to tell the addict or your partner, emphasize that your recovery is for your problems, which it is.

Friends can provide tremendous help or major harm to your recovery. Most people inject their own opinions and are unable to listen objectively. Helpful friends listen and don’t judge you but are able to gently point out when you’re not being honest or kind with yourself or have unrealistic expectations. They encourage you and remind you of your strengths when you’re too down to see them, and they celebrate your growth.

Beware of friends who gossip, have strong biases, abuse drugs or alcohol, envy or compete with you, or don’t empathize and tell you to get over your ­problem. Some people are full of criticisms and “should’s” for your life, even though they’ve had no experience with what you’re going through. Codependents often do this. Despite their good intentions, it’s no wonder you might leave their company feeling worse. Other friends may join the blame-wagon when you’re upset at someone, which fuels the fire, without really helping you.