How to overcome codependency in relationships

Learn how to overcome codependency in relationships by shifting your spiritual basis of understanding. Rabbi Taub teaches us the basics of recovery from codependency in this short excerpt from his book, “God of Our Understanding”.

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Recovery from codependence

Just as with the recovery from any addiction, recovery from codependence is based on forming a dynamic relationship with God.

The codependent and control

You see, in a very real way, the codependent is committing emotional idolatry — that is, feeling that someone or something has God – like control over reality. The codependent alternately attributes superhuman power to his or her own self and to the addict. The spiritual basis for recovery from codependency is thus to let go of the maddening pursuit of inhuman perfection and to embrace human imperfection. God is perfect. The rest of us—addicts, codependents, and everyone else—are all just doing the very best we can with what we have.

God-consciousness is the foundation of a new life and a new perspective of reality, for as long as one is devoted to an imaginary vision of perfection, it is impossible to live contentedly in the real world. One must instead learn to trust in the only true perfection—an all-powerful God who is always perfectly in control.

Overcoming codependency and acceptance

We may not like reality. That’s okay. We are entitled to our opinion. But the fact is that everything is always the way it needs to be, at least for right now.

We are not God. We cannot be. We don’t need to be.

We cannot control what other people do. And what other people do should not control us.

About the author
Rabbi Shais Taub is one of today's most respected young scholars of Jewish spirituality and practice. National Public Radio called him "an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps." He is the author of God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction.


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  1. I would just like to say, that it is very refreshing to have the truth, and knowledge, of a higher power, the Lord, being brought up and praised. He is the only way! And to actually read this, when most of society shy away from the reality of our being, has been a spiritual uplifting in my soul this evening. So my message is just to praise the writer of this blog. U are spreading truth, and weither ppl want to hear it or not, I truly stand by this message and the guidance that has been laid out for the ones searching for answers. I often read these forums, searching for answers, in order to walk away, or help, at least find closure, to my meth addicted ex-boyfriend/best friend, whom I’ve known for 8yrs now. He has been using meth over 2yrs now, and hid it from me, for over a year and 1/2. I have a 14yr old son to take care of, and be at my very best for.., so I’m working on weeding my old friend out of my life, seeing as he has little to offer in terms of being a role model. All of my family lives 6hrs away, so I have latched on to the one true friend, that this gentlemen used to be too me, long ago. All I can do is pray for my friend, speak wisdom..when he is willing to listen, and hope for the best. I have things I want to accomplish in this life.., and worrying about a meth head is not something that is best for my son, or myself. Not caring, is easier said than done. I love this friend of mine, and I hope and pray, that things will soon get better, and he will start to desire a better way of life.

  2. “The spiritual basis for recovery from codependency is thus to let go of the maddening pursuit of inhuman perfection and to embrace human imperfection.”
    I am trying so hard to grasp my situation with addiction and codependency! But, is this article suggesting I embrace my stoned husband? Accept it, and what, be okay with maybe this is as good as it gets? I am not a control freak and I’m not jealous of his carefree lifestyle. I myself am an addict (in recovery) and I long for a relationship with the unaltered man I married.

  3. First of all, we all have vices, so to label a segment of our completely vice-ridden society “addicts,” as if they have a monopoly on addictive tendencies, is already caste-creating and snooty. Control freaks are usually attracted to those who are totally out of control (in this case “addicts”) for 2 reasons: 1) they envy the addicts seemingly care free lifestyle because that kind of freedom is foreign and unattainable to them and 2) they can hide their own unmanagability in pig pen addict’s cloud of dust because addicts are so unmanagable, they make non-drug addicts around them look sane by default. And this camoflage is very important to the control freak (codependent). I have been with many codependents and, if you are reading between the lines, I have no love for them. They are usually even bigger ego-maniacs than the drug addict. Rescuing “losers” and playing God is every bit a form of self-medication to them as the dope is to the junkie. For them, finding an addict to “adopt” is the fix they need in order to justify never focusing on or fixing themselves. They are just as human as the rest of us junkies and crackheads, but their lack of self-acceptance trumps even the most desperate addict and denial is their best friend too. Addicts and those who “love” them (if you can call rescuing and controlling “love” have way more in common than any codependent would like to admit. They are both hardcore narcissists who thrive on instant self-gratification. The only difference is in there drugs of choice. My suggestion to those who claim to love us addicts to find the addict in yourself first, by any means necessary, and get real about what really draws you to us. Admit that you are every bit as strung out on chaos as we are and really wish you could be that free…

  4. I can totally relate to this. Acceptance of God’s plan is essential for our mental health, regardless of how you define yourself (addict, codependent, etc.). And I think that the message can help anyone who ever feels like life is not the way that it should be.

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