NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Overcoming Codependency: Focus on Yourself First

If you're a spouse or partner of someone who is actively drinking or drugging, no one has to tell you how difficult life can be. 

Overcoming Codependency

Anxiety about raising your children, paying the bills, and just getting through the day can be an uphill struggle. 

Trying to decide whether to stay in the relationship or go might be ever present in your mind. 

Often, one of the biggest challenges is the effect all of this has on your self esteem. When you don't feel good about yourself, you're less likely to take care of yourself in basic ways. Getting proper rest, eating healthy meals, proper grooming, and feeling entitled to emotional support often all go out the window because you're so focused on what new calamity will happen next because of your spouse.

Overfunctioning for Your Spouse
At this point, you might be so wrapped up in over functioning for your spouse that you don't even realize that you're neglecting yourself. All of this can have serious consequences for your physical health and emotional well-being.

Codependent Behavior Patterns Can Be Very Ingrained
At times, especially if codependent patterns are very ingrained, you might not know where to start. How do you change habits that you've formed over a lifetime? It might seem impossible, but thousands of people just like you have learned to turn their lives around through Al-Anon.

Al-Anon is a supportive, nonjudgmental self help environment where people share their hope and experience about what has worked for them in their recovery from codependence. There is no advice giving or preaching. People share the tools of the program in terms of what has been helpful to them. In the spirit of Al-Anon, you can "take what you like and leave the rest," which means you are free to accept or reject either part or all that has been shared. There's also an opportunity for sponsorship for additional support.

In Al-Anon, people don't pretend they have all the answers. Codependent issues might still be a struggle for many, but they are still committed to the Al-Anon process.

Getting Help to Overcome Codependency
As a psychotherapist, I've worked with many spouses and partners of people who have substance abuse problems, and many of them have benefited from the tools they gained in Al-Anon, which is why I usually recommend it.

No one can tell you what's right for you in your life. Whether you stay or leave your relationship is up to you. But, whatever you decide, it's important to get the emotional support that you need and deserve so you can take care of yourself first.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist. I provide psychotherapy services, including talk therapy, EMDR, clinical hypnosis, and Somatic Experiencing to adults. 

I work with individuals and couples, and I've helped many people to overcome codependency issues.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also see my articles:
Al-Anon: Beyond Reciting Slogans

Getting to Know the Only Person You Can Change: Yourself

Ambivalence and Codependence in the Mother-Daughter Relationship