The traditional stereo-typical view of co-dependency was of the long suffering spouse of an alcoholic. She (because stereo-typically it was a woman) would spend years propping up her “no-good” alcoholic husband, covering up all his drunken misdemeanors, apologizing on his behalf and generally conducting her duty with “the patience of a saint” When her drunken spouse finally saw the light and got himself into recovery, suddenly she would find herself adrift, floating in a void without meaning or purpose.
Alcohol and drug abuse is the source of many problems for those who are engaged in addictive behaviours. One of the earliest casualties from substance abuse will be intimacy. It is very difficult for people to abuse mind-altering substances on a regular basis and maintain healthy relationships. As a person falls deeper and deeper into addiction, it will completely take over their life and there will be little room for anyone else. As people become more disconnected from their true feelings and needs, due to suppression by substances, they become less able to communicate them in their relationships, which in turn become more superficial and less gratifying.