Care-giving is doing for others what they can't do for themselves. An example of this would be bathing and feeding your baby, or helping an elderly person cross the street.
Care-taking is doing for others what they can do for themselves. For example, cleaning your teenagers room when they were able to clean it themselves.
You will know the difference by the way you FEEL. Care-giving leaves you feeling peaceful and content, while care-taking leaves you feeling exhausted and resentful.
Codependency is feeling responsible for another persons behaviour and/or choices. It fits well with addiction in a key and lock scenario. A codependent feels okay when the addict feels okay and when they don't feel okay, the codependent feels anxious and guilty and tries harder to accommodate the addict's needs. This is the key. The addict needs the codependent to look after their consequences. They have a full time job trying to stay high and cleaning up their messes would only get in the way of using. The codependent is crucial to the addict's staying sick. Addict's need codependent's to sweep up their mess. The addict can't stay sick without the codependent. This is the lock.
The codependent will be the 'go to' person in the family. They will be the ones practising care-taking or enabling behaviours. The codependent often feels they understand the addict better than the rest of the family and will protect him or her by keeping their secrets. They will make excuses for this person and often violate their own moral ethics to stay in the relationship.
Both parties look to each other to solve their problems. They often isolate themselves from other family members. They have a love hate-relationship. Both are acting out in ugly, sick behaviours.
Both the addict and the codependent will progress to terminal stages if not intervened upon. The addict crosses the line into the terminal stage where they no longer care. They are apathetic and not interested in fighting to get clean and/or sober. The codependent crosses the line from being concerned, into being consumed. Their world is falling apart, as is their health and relationships.
If you or a family member love someone with addiction, the most helpful thing you can do for THEM, is get support for YOU. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You can't use the same thinking that got you into this, to get you out.
To truly move beyond addiction you must live in transparency. No more secrets or isolation. Reach out and ask for help. Be willing to do all the things that would be required of your addict to get well. Like going to meetings and counselling sessions and attending family programs in rehab if possible.
Don't wait for someone else to change. Be the change. The rest will fall into place when you do.