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Robert Weiss PhD, LCSW

Prodependence vs. Codependence

If you’re the loved one of an addict, especially if that individual is sex, porn, or substance-addicted, you’ve probably had someone suggest that you read up on codependency and that you start attending Codependents Anonymous meetings.

You will not hear those suggestions from us. I am not a fan of the codependency model. I feel that it is blaming and shaming toward you, holding you responsible for what happened when your only sin is loving a person who made some mistakes or is suffering from an addiction. Codependency would tell you to detach, to leave the addict, to let the addict sink or swim on his or her own. Codependency would tell you that you love too much, and it’s hurting both you and the addict.

I think that’s a load of you-know-what. I think it’s not possible to love too much. I think it’s crazy to suggest to you that you walk away from a loved one when he or she is struggling and finally trying to do something about it.

But what’s the alternative, you ask? The alternative is prodependence.

What Is Prodependence?

Prodependence is a new concept in addiction healthcare, intended to improve how therapists treat loved ones of addicts and other troubled people. With its attachment-positive focus, prodependence pushes aside the flaws of codependency, which generally leave loved ones of addicts feeling confused and misunderstood rather than supported and validated. Prodependence chooses to celebrate and value a loved one’s desire to stay connected no matter what, while providing that person with a skillset to do so in the healthiest possible way.

Ground Yourself in Prodependence

To learn more about prodependence, you might want to pick up a copy of my book, Prodependence: Beyond the Myth of Codependency, and that you attend at least a few of our free online webinars and discussion groups, several of which focus on prodependence.

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If you or someone you care about is struggling with sex, porn, or substance/sex addiction, help is available. Seeking Integrity offers inpatient treatment for sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts, as well as low-cost online workgroups. At the same time, offers a variety of free webinars and drop-in discussion groupspodcasts, and more.