Reaching the Unreachables and Breaking Codependency -Supporting Platform for Family Members of Substance Abusers


With support from the Beat Drugs Fund, Caritas Lok Heep Club has been operating the project “Reaching the Unreachables and Breaking Codependency Supporting Platform for Family Members of Substance Abuser“ since July 2014.

Through the provision of drug treatment and rehabilitation services, Caritas Lok Heep Club observes that many family members of drug abusers exhibit symptoms of codependency in facing their problems. The term “Codependency” describes their loss of self and the vicious symbiosis with the drug abusers.  With improved mental health condition of the family members with codependency, their communication and relationship with the drug abusers could be enhanced and they could better motivate the drug abusers to receive drug treatment.

The project aims at early identification and treatment of hidden/potential Family Members of Substance Abusers with Codependency (FMSAC). It promotes the mental health of FMSAC and enhances their functional relationships within the family. It thereby helps the latent substance abusers get drug treatment and go through the process of social rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.


What is Codependency?

  • A state of losing one self
  • Attempt to "save" the drug abuser through every means
  • Make every effort to control the drug abuser's behaviour
  • Neglect ourself's physical and mental health and the all other significant other


Road to Recovery

  • If one can recognize his/her codependency, one can make improvement and make positive change
  • Release, accept limitation and set boundaries
  • Regain self, know how to say "No" and manage emotion
  • Feel comfortable, rebuild sense of self and accept who I am
  • Formulate strategies and actions to motivate drug abuser to change



The following are the details of the project:

1. Talk on understanding Co-dependency
◆ Visiting different organization to deliver the talks
◆ Introducing concepts of codependency and the ways to treat it

2. Family Counseling
◆ Providing counselling service
◆ Providing emotion Support
◆ Facilitating family members of the drug abuser to deal with the drug problem 
◆ Assisting the drug abuser to make positive changes

3. Medical Service
◆ Conducting nursing care sessions by a professional nurse
◆ Offering medical check-up and consultations
◆ Dealing with mental and physical problems 
◆ Making referral to hospitals or specialist clinics when appropriate.

4. Home Visiting Team
◆ Facilitating trained volunteers who had treated their family members’drug abuse problem to share their real life    experience with group members
◆ Providing peer support

5. Therapeutic and Supportive Group
◆ Introducing the concepts on codependency
◆ Examining- irrational beliefs & bill of rights 
◆ Helping to set boundary & enhancing assertiveness
◆ Learning stress management
◆ Learning from the experience of other family members of drug abusers

People Dependency Checklist

To help determine your degree of people dependency check the following which apply most of the time (be honest):
(Translated from “Let’s Stand Up Straight”, Dr Bruce Litchfield with consent given by author)

I have difficulty identifying or expressing my feelings.
I try to manage other people, or control their lives.
I have unrealistic expectations for myself and others.
I am concerned about what others think of me.
I feel responsible for the behaviour or feelings of others.
I need approval from someone to feel good about myself.
I don’t trust my own opinions or views.
I have lied in order to protect another person.
I need to take care of someone to feel useful.
I try to avoid conflict.
I experience pain or illness.
I feel powerless to change my life.
I have difficulty making decisions.
I have low self-esteem.
I involve myself in relationships that are not good for me.
I confuse my thoughts and feelings with those of another.
I try to read the mind of loved ones or analyse them.
I feel someone should be punished for letting me down.
I have tried without success to end an unhealthy relationship.
I must be strong, good or perfect to be accepted.


If you checked 0-5 times you are probably a well-rounded, happy person who can make choices about relationships.
If you checked 6-10 times you are preoccupied with another person, losing yourself in the relationship (mild dependency).
If you checked 11-15 times you have an unhealthy people dependency, focused on the problems or concerns of another Person to avoid your own feelings (Moderate dependency)
If you checked 16-20 times you are addicted to someone else who is an addict or compulsive (high dependency)

Do call for help from Caritas Lok Heep Club, if youe are afraid that you have Codepedency