Published by MARR, Inc. Written by Travis Ramsey, LMFT, LAPC
It was a standard first call with parents until I began fielding their questions. “How will Brad* get his clothes cleaned? Who fixes his meals for him? How will he wake up on time in the morning?” As I began to understand these questions better, I soon realized that mom and dad had basically taken care of all Brad’s responsibilities his entire life. A young adult, Brad was now at MARR, the furthest he had ever lived from his parents, addicted to alcohol and drugs, and having never learned to wash his clothes, wake up on his own, or make a meal.
Another term often used to describe addiction is chemical dependency. It’s literally true, as addiction is more than a liking or craving, but actually registers in the brain as a need along the same pathway as oxygen and food. Addiction requires not only a substance but another person. While an addict is forsaking all else to take in a substance, he/she will die (or hit their “bottom”) unless someone else is taking care of the things needed to actually survive, i.e. food, shelter, finances, and relationship. Initially, this was the definition of codependency: being in a relationship with an alcoholic or addict. Read more!