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Co-Addiction Free

with Addie Lee

My Blog


What Happened to Books for Co-dependents?

Posted on October 9, 2015 at 5:21 PM Comments comments (1)
Perhaps I am missing out on finding the latest information for co-dependents and where they can get help for their addiction. Even looking in the bookstores does not satisfy my perusing for books on this topic. Back in the 80's and early 90's, there was a myriad of books on this topic but since then, most of the attention has been on the alcoholics or drug addicts or a rush to legalize marijuana. I hear adds on the radio for a miraculous new treatment via a simple surgery which will cure the addict of his/her craving for their drug of choice. All a person has to do is take a trip to the nearest treatment office, undertake the procedure, and lo and behold, awake the next morning and the craving has disappeared. No more endless minutes waiting for the next drink. And the family is now in tact and the relationship with the former addict has improved greatly. First of all, I question that any over-night treatment will be effective, especially since the addiction to the drug has taken its toll on the body, mind and spirit of the addict for many years. It will take a minimum of 2 years to change old habits and adopt new, healthier ones and move forward to a healthy reconstruction of one's life. The same is true for the co-dependents in the former addict's life. The enabler will be devoting at least 2 years to deal with and change old behaviors to newer, healthier ways of behaving.  Furthermore, addicts and co-addicts will have to accept that there is a problem and agree to treatment before any progress can begin. The denial that both people have lived by has to be destroyed and replaced by admitting that there is a problem and that help will be accepted. 

My answer to this problem: I think that people just don't want to read about the disease of addiction and the corresponding behaviors of co-addiction. It's just "too hard". It is easier to continue on, existing under the long established unhealthy rules of a relationship rather than seeking help. However, if book publishers would acknowledge the prevalence of co-dependency and the existing need to generate new information about the condition and treatment, recovery could become attainable for those suffering from the effects of this disease. And---they would undoubtedly sell more books. In addition, by accepting books written by co-dependent celebrities for publication, this could lead to an upsurge of interest and assistance for co's and more book sales as well.

My Message from "The Girl On The Train"

Posted on February 18, 2015 at 5:47 PM Comments comments (0)
If anyone wants to acquaint themselves about spiraling, out-of-control alcoholic behaviors, pick up the book "The Girl On The Train" by Paula Hawkins just released for sale. You will read main character Rachel Watson's personal accounting of her seeming acknowledgement of her alcoholism and her attempts to sober up, her description of her craving for a drink/s, her acts of concealment, the black-outs she experiences which terrorize her when she is unable to remember just "what she did", and the shame she feels after each addiction episode.  By her description all of the behaviors she talks about signal that she is in the final stage of her addiction. She is unable to control her drinking.  You will also learn how her ex-husband Tom shows his co-addictive behavior as he tries to control her and her drinking as does her friend and  landlady, Cathy.  Not being able to make a go of it, Tom involves himself with another woman and eventually he and Rachel get divorced.  This is when Rachel moves into a spare bedroom at her friend Cathy's house. She continues to drink and her behaviors become so serious that Cathy gives her an eviction notice. Then feeling guilty about that, Cathy apologizes and takes it back. She keeps trying to get Rachel to stop drinking and get help which Rachel is unable to do. So the two of them go round and round over the drinking issues and those of us who have been enablers know only too well how frustrating and discouraging continuing to try to "move the boulder" becomes too exhausting to continue. This is when we ask for help and if we are lucky and resourceful, are able to get the support and assistance we need. Al-Anon did that for me. Going to meetings and listening to members share their experience, strength and hope anchored me in the storm and led to me find the personal power to change what I could about myself and my situation. In addition, I took advantage of a fellow Al-Anon member's strong suggestion that I would get additional help from the Chemical Dependency counselor she was seeing in a group session weekly. I was open to assistance from an expert in the field of alcoholism/addiction because I believed that person would have the targeted information on the disease rather than what a family counselor could offer. Therefore, I attended the group meeting with my Al-Anon friend and was very impressed with the new information the counselor presented. After the meeting was over, I returned to my home and read the handouts I had collected. Thinking it over and, even though I felt overwhelmed with the facts of co-addiction and addiction, I made a phone call to the counselor to set up an appointment. That step was the next one on my road to recovery. During the counseling session, I learned more facts of the disease..that the progression of the disease was predictable but so was the recovery. There was a recovery time-line for both co's and alcoholic/addict. The counselor had learned many of these facts from her work with co's and alcoholics. She probably knew more about the ramifications of the disease than those who confine their counseling to just the alcoholic/addict. She had the face-to-face contact with clients who shared their experiences which fit into a time-line that were held within these experiences. By acquiring the knowledge that there was an order to recovery and stages the person goes through to reach recovery gave me the strength and hope to continue with the counseling and attending Al-Anon meetings. 
Getting back to the main character, Rachel, in the aforementioned book, not having finished reading the final pages, I do not know if Rachel did finally go to AA meetings to receive help. But as the spouse of a successfully recovered alcoholic/drug addict who still attends AA meetings after more than 30 years, I know she will receive the support and positive assistance should she choose to do whatever it takes to recover and live a healthy life free from addiction. 
Good Karma to you!
Addie Lee

Glossary of Terms for Co-Addiction Free

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 6:47 PM Comments comments (5)
A Co's Blog provides viewers with definitions of co-addiction, addiction, and recovery. Other descriptive terms are defined also.                                                                            Be in the "know"
           As a recovered co, I believe It is imperative that you understand the terms that I use to inform you about co-addiction, addiction and recovery. These are terms that I learned as I participated in counseling from a chemical dependency counselor (Ms. Alice Lebron, LCSW), attended co-dependency support group meetings and  researched for myself by reading books from the lean book offerings in the field of co-addiction that were published.They are defined below in the Glossary. Acquainting yourself with these terms makes it easier to know just what I am talking about. You may be familiar with many of them and others will be new to you. Since there is minimal information about co-addiction, it is critical that this knowledge becomes part of your usable vocabulary.
                                                                          Glossary of Terms
Alcoholic/addict:  A person or persons whose continued excessive use of alcoholic drinks leads to an inability to control usage and whose life spirals out of control physically, mentally and spiritually because of this compulsive, chemical dependence.
Co-alcoholic/addict: A person or person or persons whose addiction is the alcoholic/addict, who reacts to the accompanying behaviors in unhealthy ways, which are neither helpful to her/himself or the afflicted.
Enabler: Another term describing the co-alcoholic/addict whose role is to protect one's own and the family's respect. S/he is motivated by the realistic fear that s/he and the family will have to share the negative consequences of the addict's behavior. The enabler feels intense shame with no way out except to try to control the situation however s/he can.
Disease model: "Alcoholism is a threefold disease affecting the body, mind and spirit." The addict is genuinely ill, suffering from a diagnosible, progressive, ultimately fatal disease. There is no permanent cure for it - relapse is always as close as the next drink - but it can be arrested and with proper help, the alcoholic can regain health and sobriety. When recognized as a disease, it can be arrested short of total tragedy - provided its victim gets suitable help soon enough.
Antabuse (Disulfiram):  A tablet taken with liquid that is used as a treatment for alcoholism. It will not cure alcoholism but is a powerful deterrent to drinking. In combination with alcohol, it produces a metabolic change that causes severe temporary toxicity - vomiting.
"Alky": Alky is a slang name for the alcoholic and is generally used to refer to the sick person in communication. The alcoholic refers to him/herself by this word as well.
Grass: A slang name for marijuana.
Mary Jane: Another slang name for marijuana.
Denial: Major overall power of influence that prevents the co-addict or addict from admitting the truth of the reality of alcoholism in their lives. "The addict builds a solid denial system concerning the usage, the related problems and the behaviors. The denial is comprised of rationalization, justification, suppression, repression, and projection and supported by the 'no-talk-rule'."
No-Talk Rule: The addict establishes a "No-Talk Rule" very early in the development of the addiction. The addict does not want others talking about the drinking/usage or any problems related to the drinking/usage. The addict uses anger and self-pity to enforce this rule. This rule is also very powerful in covering up the addiction and supporting the delusion of the drinking/using not being a problem. Breaking this rule is very important in intervening, whether it is formal or informal intervention.
Formal Intervention: Characterized by creating an opportunity in which a social worker or chemical dependency counselor along with the family members, friends,co-workers, etc. privately confront the alcoholic/addict with their concerns about the addictive behaviors using lists and/or descriptions of offending behaviors and how it has hurt them. The goal of this confrontation is to get the alcoholic/addict to see that the behaviors are directly caused or related to the offending behaviors and that she/he needs professional help. This help can come in the form of in-patient treatment for a specific number of required days or out-patient treatment by going to AA or NA meetings and a chemical dependency counselor for counseling.
Informal Intervention: Different from the formal intervention whereby the co or other concerned family member or co-worker describes the addict's behavior in a certain situation and then saying these 3 things:
                1. I want you to stop drinking or using drugs.
                2. I want you to go to AA or NA meetings.
                3. I want you to go to a chemical dependency counselor.
The confronting person will preface the description by saying "I love you" or "I like you", or "I care about you": This may have to be done numerous times before the addict is ready to acknowledge that help is necessary. Guidance from a chemical dependency counselor can aid the confronter  in determining the specific times to do this and provide support.
Twelve-step Program: Alcoholics Anonymous has allowed numerous twelve-step programs to adopt its steps and traditions.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program The Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program was created by the co-founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, with twelve suggested steps to recovery from alcoholism, which, if followed in order, can lead the alcoholic to recovery from the disease of alcoholism. "In a broad sense, the Steps are spiritual beliefs reflecting elements of many religions and philosophies of the world. In their simple words, the Twelve Steps encompass a magnificent body of ideas whose study will be rewarded by the enrichment of our characters and personalities, a deeper understanding of the relationship to others, and a sustaining confidence and serenity that will help us live more fully each day." (From ALCOHOLISM THE FAMILY DISEASE)
Al-Anon Program: The Al-Anon program is a spiritual way of life based on the suggested Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Relatives and friends of alcoholics/addicts, who have been deeply affected by close contact with the alcoholic/addict, attend Al-Anon program meetings from which other members offer their friendship, strength and hope. They share their experiences in coping with the disease of alcoholism and how the program helps in giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. Study of this program and its Twelve Steps will strengthen members for the solving of many difficult problems.
Serenity Prayer: A prayer that is read at most group meetings of A.A. and Al-anon and often analyzed in group discussions. It also serves as inspiration to individuals in daily meditation:
                       "God, grant me the serenity,
                        To accept the things I cannot change,
                        Courage to change the things I can,
                        And wisdom to know the difference."
Dry-Drunk Syndrome: "Dry-drunk: is a term describing the state of the alcoholic who is uncomfortable when he is not drinking and/or using. The dry-drunk syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur together and constitute an abnormality. Since the abnormality of the alcoholic's attitude and behavior during his drinking career is generally recognized, the persistence of the character traits after the alcoholic stops drinking might seem equally abnormal.  Therefore, the term "dry-drunk" alludes to the absence of favorable change in the attitudes and behavior of the alcoholic who is not drinking.  From this lack of change it is inferred that the alcoholic (man or woman) is experiencing discomfort in his life. The syndrome can occur in all alcoholics and there is little doubt as to the source of the discomfort. The phase "dry-drunk" has two significant words for the alcoholic:
      *  "Dry" simply refers to the fact that he abstains from drinking, whereas
      *  "Drunk" signifies a deeply pathological condition resulting from this use of alcohol in the past.
Taken together these words suggest intoxication without alcohol. Since intoxication comes from the Greek word for "poison", dry-drunk implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior that are poisonous to the alcoholic's well-being. This is the reason the addict needs counseling. The counselor educates the addict about the syndrome and therefore, helps to relieve some of the "craziness" the addict feels and brings an understanding of where this behavior fits in the recovery process. This information assists the co in the same way because the co or family members do not understand why the addicted is behaving the same way as when he was drinking/using. The expectation is that once the addict stops drinking and or using, normal behavior will fit into place immediately. This, of course, is not true.
AA or Al-Anon Sponsor: An established member of one of these groups who acts as an adviser, friend and teacher to a newcomer, supporting him/her in understanding the program and assisting the newcomer with working the Twelve Steps by sharing their experience, strength and hope when he/she recovered. The sponsor/friend usually accompanies his "student" to the formal meetings, makes home visits and/or arranges regular contact for support and shepherds the recovering person on their road to an addiction-free life.
AA and Al-Anon Service: The AA or Al-Anon members dedicate a portion of their time to assisting troubled persons who are seeking help to deal with their addiction or co-addiction. This may include visits to the person's home, hospital or institution or recovery center. Active members consider this service as another tool the recovered person uses to remain clean and sober as well as giving a validation of their changed, healthier lives. AA or Al-Anon service also includes the member taking an active role in local or area meetings as an officer in the organization. Assuming the role of a speaker at AA conferences is another way to spread the word of recovery from addiction or co-addiction to both longtime members as well as newcomers.


Posted on April 27, 2014 at 7:32 PM Comments comments (471)
Dear Academy Award Watchers,
Yes, Nebraska, is one of the nominated films for 2013 and portrays Bruce Dern/Woody Grant as an elderly, cantankerous father who thinks he's struck it rich when he receives a junk "Sweepstakes" letter announcing he can collect his million dollars by bringing his winning number to Lincoln. Woody, an alcoholic, displays the alcoholic behaviors which are red flags for that disease. Actress, June Squibb, plays the part of his aggrieved wife, Kate Grant and gives an A-1 performance as the co-dependent, bitchy wife. Observers may come to hate her intensely as the movie edges toward its finale. In reality, co-dependents aren't usually liked that much because of their bitchiness, impatience with the alcoholic and controlling behaviors. Friends and/or family view the alcoholic as the "misunderstood" one and the addict plays into the sympathy as acting like the victim with the self-pity expressed. Woody certainly portrayed this part with much skill. He manipulates his compassionate son, David, played by Will Forte, to drive him to Lincoln to collect his money much to Kate's dismay. On the way to Lincoln, the two stop at Rapid City, South Dakota where Woody goes on a drinking binge, falls in the motel room and cuts his head open, requiring a trip to the local hospital. Discovering that Woody has lost his dentures, father and son retrace Woody's steps and find them beside the railroad tracks in the town. David calls his family to tell them of the recent happenings and that he and his dad will be driving through Hawthorne, Woody's hometown, on the way to Lincoln. Kate decided to hop on the bus and join them. Hearing this news, Woody objects but David drives on to Hawthorne where his uncle and aunt and family live. Arriving there we see the family members subsisting on the verge of poverty because of the recession. The only entertainment in that town sadly seems to be drinking and watching TV of which almost everyone partakes, leading to arguing,threatening and dysfunctional behaviors.  At the local bar, Woody goads his son into drinking with him and in the process admits to his alcoholism and problems with the family because of it including his confiding that he really didn't love Kate nor want any children. The pain of this confession is seen on David's face as he listens to the admission. Viewers are able to see the interaction between the alcoholic and co or family member. Alcoholics do not realize the pain they inflict on others, especially when they are drinking but also when they are in the "dry-drunk" after they quit. When they admit there is a problem, stop drinking, accept the need for help and commit to "doing whatever it takes to recover", empathy returns. A co's inability to empathize or sympathize with the alcoholic causes much pain to the family also. When Kate nags at Woody and "puts him down" verbally, David is hurt and soaks up her displeasure within his own psyche unbeknownst to her. This is one of the most important reasons for co's to seek and get help for their co-addiction. Their behaviors have not been acceptable in the conundrum of alcoholism either and replacing them with healthy actions as well as becoming knowledgeable of the fact that alcoholism is a "family disease" leads to their appropriate behaviors, understanding and recovery. There are some redeeming qualities that arise for both Woody and David at the end of the movie but it is unknown how Kate will fare. If you observe this movie with the background knowledge of the disease of alcoholism, you will appreciate even more when those afflicted seek help, participate in their recovery and change their lives to be productive, healthy and happy.
Good Karma, Everybody!

Good News! New Book on the Treatment of Alcoholism/ Addiction Available

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 11:18 PM Comments comments (2)
Hello, Loyal Readers!
It has been too long since I wrote to you. It seems like time flies by so fast and before I know it, a month or more has passed and I have not written a comment. So I am speaking to that issue today.
Dorrance Publishers of Pittsburgh, PA has just published a new book for which those of you who are pursuing the newest information on Co-Addiction, Addiction and Recovery will find most enlightening.
The title of the new book is:
                 by Alice M. Lebron, LCSW, MSWAC, BCD Emeritus. 
About the Book: Alcoholism, like other forms of addiction, is a complex disease, but treatment does not have to be complicated. The stigma/shame of the disease comes from the behaviors developed from the disease. These behaviors must be addressed and changed using a therapy program. Sobriety is more than abstinence and relapse prevention. Family members are severely emotionally and mentally injured and need as much treatment as the alcoholic/addict so they can become healthy persons.   

As a clinical social worker, author Alice M. Lebron has dedicated her career to finding and developing information to help individuals suffering from alcoholism/addiction, as well as people directly affected by the disease-their families. The author believes that "recovery enables a person to become the person they were born to become," and through this book, she aims to guide you and your family down the path of change and healing, which she has been doing for more than forty years. 

About the Author: Alice M. Lebron, LCSW, MSWAC, BCD Emeritus served in the United States Air Force for three years before she became a social worker. she was born in Spokane, Washington and has been married for fifty-six years. She and her husband have a daughter and had a son who died five years ago. Alice currently resides in California.

How to purchase
Write to: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. Book Order Dept., 701 Smithfield St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or call 1-800-788-7654. Price: $37.00/book plus shipping and handling.

Good Karma, Everybody!

Happy 30th Birthday!

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 6:57 PM Comments comments (0)
On September 25, 2013, the recovered alcoholic/addict in my life celebrated his 30th year of being clean and sober. Over 30 years ago he said "I will never quit drinking!" Today he says, I will continue to live my life without alcohol or drugs. It took him many years to reach his "bottom". But when he did, he surrendered and committed his life to doing whatever it took to live a life free of addiction. He admitted he needed help, quite drinking and using, received support by joining a twelve-step program, finding a sponsor, getting guidance from an educated, knowledgeable chemical dependency counselor and having faith in his Higher Power. The early days of recovery were not easy after the rosy light of admission faded but he moved forward in his program to recover. Because I was so negatively affected by his addiction and my own co-dependency, I sought help and I too went through the 5 stages of recovery that my husband did.  I have written specifically about this on a previous blog.  

Happy Birthday!

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)
On September 25, the recovered alcoholic/addict in my life celebrated his 30th Birthday of "Clean and Sober" -  his recovery from addiction. Over thirty years ago, he said that he would "never quit drinking!" Today, he says he will "stay clean and sober" the rest of his life. Since he admitted his problem and sought help from a 12 step recovery program as well as counseling from a chemical dependency counselor, he has lived what he promised himself he would do. He took the steps to recovery. The road was not comfortable in the beginning after he got past the rosy glow of celebrating his surrender to admitting that he needed help. To recover, he depended on the support from the other recovering addicts in a twelve step program, his belief in a "Higher Power" and the trust in the educated words of the chemical dependency counselor who guided him in the 5 stages of recovery. As he went through recovery, so did I. I learned the 5 stages of recovery I would experience and even though it took me two years, I knew what to expect in each stage and learned how to face and deal positively with each feeling and situation as it came along. I have written about these 5 stages in a previous blog. All the steps are outlined clearly so those of you who read about the process, will see that there is indeed "light at the end of the tunnel" if you are willing to do whatever it takes to live a healthy, happy life free from addiction. The truth about recovery from addiction is that it is possible! It can be and is being done by those who are willing to admit they need help and have the strength and courage to seek that help. Ms. Alice Lebron, chemical dependency counselor, states that people who have been addicted and have done whatever it took to become clean and sober, many time do not give themselves credit for what they have accomplished. They have turned their lives around by changing their behavior to be constructive and thus, they experience the joy and serenity of their efforts. As a recovered co, I have experience this same happy and healthy reality. Family members and friends continue to see the results of  this positive change. We are all thankful for the lives we now live. Yes, I repeat, it can be done!  Go for it! 

Co-dependent Recovery Timeline

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (2)
According to Alice Lebron, Chemical Dependency Counselor, there are steps to recovery for the co-dependent as well as steps for the chemically dependent person. Knowing these steps as they are defined in the Recovery Timeline provides some relief from the anxiety that many of you co's experience as you face your recovery. There are five phases for recovery and it takes approximately 2 years to complete them. The first four parallel that of recovery for the addict.


     1. Admitting to loved one of being addicted
     2. Admitting to being affected
         Shock - Relief - Euphoria - Denial - 10-90 days

      1. Difficulty continuing belief in addiction since the addicted person is not using/drinking but acting the same.
      2. Anger increases (for every member of the family) - more than during use.
      3. Tiredness, confusion, intensity of feelings, difficulty concentrating, difficulty motivating, hyperactivity and  
          agitation, sometimes. 
      4. Begins to develop sense of self in latter part of phase
          6-9 months with the first 30 days most intense and latter part fairly comfortable.


      1. Accepting addiction occurred because of use.
      2. Accepting self as not causing addiction.
      3. Accepting they cannot "fix" it.
      4. Accepting they can have a life of own - with or without the addicted person. 
         Generally comfortable but some sadness and a need to cry, especially if addicted person has not continued 
         recovery and divorce is necessary.
         Divorce proceedings can be started, if needed.
         9-12 months.


          Several areas: Responsibility for others, old learning about personal roles, old hurts and angers, the past.

          Compassion develops in this phase.

I trust that reading this timeline will give you co-dependents some guidance on what you will go through in your recovery. As you proceed through these steps, you will find that you will identify your feelings and actions with the timeline and will have confidence that you will make it to the end. You will be validated that what you feel is "real" and to be expected and you will not berate yourselves that you are not moving forward faster,  "having given it all you have got" and doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal of recovery. Your choosing to receive counseling from a knowledgeable counselor during this time will give you the support you will need. Sharing what you are experiencing will bolster your courage in your journey to wellness. All my best to you and faith that you can do it!

My Recipe for Helping Myself as a Co-Dependent

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM Comments comments (4)
               As a co-dependent, I began looking for ways to help myself. Following is a list of what I did:

Moving into "action" was very healing. It was a way to empower myself, to give me hope that I could live a new way.I trust that this guideline will empower you and let you know that there is something you can do for yourself which will ultimately lead to changes around you. You won't feel so "stuck". You will like yourself for moving ahead to a solution to your situation.

See you in Colorado Springs, CO - January 27-30, 2013.

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM Comments comments (1)
The 39th Advanced International Winter Symposium on Addictive Disorders, Behavioral Health and Mental Health takes place in Colorado Springs, CO at the Crowne Plaza Hotel January 27-30, 2013. It is presented by: Psychotherapy Associates, P.C. and Educational Supporters. The Symposium Faculty includes Bob Ferguson, BS; Claudia Black, PhD; Lisa Marzilli, PharmD.CDE; Mel Pohl, MD. FASAM; and Beverly Berg. MFT.PhD. to name a few. There will be many relevant exhibitions on display at the Symposium.  Co-Addiction Free with Addie Lee has reserved a booth in the registration area and will be exhibiting the book "It's Okay To Be Dumbfounded, Just Don't Stay That Way!" From Co-Addiction, Addiction to Recovery-Doing whatever it takes to live a healthy life free from addiction for attendees to view and possibly purchase. It will be a great time for attendees to acquaint themselves with the new information available for co-dependents, the recovered and non-recovered addicts and the mental health or social workers who are counseling this population. If you are attending the conference, I invite you to stop by my booth to see what I have to offer.
Good Karma!