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We know that codependency and addiction relate, but how do they really relate?
How can addicts and alcoholics be codependent too?
How can practicing mindfulness and awareness of our bodies help treat codependency?
In this podcast episode, Marissa speaks with Jennifer Leupp, LCSW, about addiction, codependency, and the common addict-codependent relationship. But what about addicts: can they be codependent too? Jennifer helps us understand how addicts and alcoholics also can be codependent with friends, family, lovers, colleagues, and so on. But isn’t it always a codependent + an addict/alcoholic? Apparently not! You will also hear Jennifer share about her specialties with mindfulness and somatic therapy (ooo, what’s that, you ask?). Hear tips on how to pay attention to your thoughts as well as what goes on in your body to bring more awareness to your codependency.
Thanks for listening!
Jennifer Leupp is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Yoga Instructor seeing clients online that live in California. She specializes in working with Codependence, especially with women who are feeling anxious and stressed in their relationships with loved ones. She also specializes in Substance Abuse, working with Individuals who want to quit or cut down on their alcohol or marijuana use. Jeni uses Mindfulness, Somatic, Cognitive and Trauma-focused approaches to support her clients in growing and healing.
More deets on this week’s episode:
We start off where we always do: how does Jennifer define codependency and how has that come up in her own life? Jennifer remarks how most people have heard the term before but misunderstand it (right?). “To me, it means people that feel responsible for other people’s problems, for other people’s feelings, that have a hard time saying no, tend to people please, have a hard time setting boundaries, and difficulty expressing their feelings and needs. People who tend to not leave a lot of room for themselves.”
Jennifer opens up about dating others and “I didn’t have the best picker…and stayed in relationships longer than I should have.” A huge part of her codependency was “trying to get them to change,” where she would try and try and try…until she was exhausted.
Jennifer admits how she dated without a lot of intention or thought behind it. Marissa admits to dating anyone who was interested then Jennifer highlights how her parents did not model dating with selection–what comes up as you hear this part?
Second question: How do codependency and substance abuse/addiction relate? Jennifer explains how typically we imagine a codependent in relationship with a partner, family member, or loved one who is an alcoholic or addict. BUT addicts and alcoholics can be addicts too. Jennifer describes how addicts/alcoholics can use to stay in relationships they are not happy with and ways she observed this while working in a drug and alcohol rehab center. She recalls examples of addicts or alcoholics who would use, while trying to get sober, because they were so concerned about making their friends comfortable–that’s codependent.
Third question: since we don’t typically think of codependents as addicts–how can codependents be addicts as well? Jennifer reveals how addicts will avoid sharing their feelings, avoid sharing their needs, which contributes to numbing, not wanting to feel, and staying in situations that are not satisfactory.
Fourth question: what happens with addicts/alcoholics get sober and their codependency is evident? Jennifer shares how it is more obvious and apparent which can help make changes or, if things are not deal with, can lead to a relapse or slip.
Fifth question: how can difficult past experiences or our upbringings result in Codependent behaviors? Jennifer shares about being parentified as a child, having past trauma, and negative experiences within our families often contribute to codependency. She gives us great examples where she’s heard from others who became a confidante for a parent, experienced excess anger at home, or weren’t allowed to have feelings.
What are Mindfulness and Somatic approaches? Jennifer defines mindfulness as using the breath and tools to get “more in the moment.” Somatic approaches is all about focusing on your body. When a feeling comes up – what does it feel like, what color, temperature, etc? Somatic is all about going in towards the feelings. Meditation and EMDR are both somatic approaches.
How do these approaches help with codependency? With setting boundaries, Jennifer helps her clients use mindfulness and paying attention to their body to follow-through on setting the actual boundary. What if you back slide? Scripts help! Role play! Practice!
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