How To Love An Addict Without Enabling
The Up And Downside Of TruthThere is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for an organ. This is the most horrible truth.More On Worrying
- What if he loses his job?
- What if she cant take care of her kids?
- What if he lands in jail or prison?
- What if he kills someone in an auto accident?
- And worst of all, what if he dies from a drug overdose or the cumulative effects of alcoholism?
Enabling: Well Intentioned But MisguidedDigging InAll you have to do is to be willing.leasqueaky
Are You Helping Or Enabling 7 Ways To Spot The Difference
Theres no doubt that loving an addict is hard. Its natural for you to want your;loved ones to succeed rather than suffer.
While reaching out to help a loved one in need is certainly not a bad thing, theres a fine line between helping and enabling, especially when it comes to addiction. Those who enable have good intentions, but theyre actually contributing to the problem rather than solving it.
Here are 7 ways to tell the if youre helping or enabling someone suffering from an addiction.
Do Not Encourage Their Drinking Behavior
Some of your actions, although with the best of intentions, will backfire and fuel an addicts alcohol abuse. Keep these pointers in mind so that you dont unknowingly support their behavior.
1. Never cover up for an alcoholicThis one is a no-brainer. Make no excuses for an alcoholic. Wondering how to help an alcoholic spouse? Dont enable them to sustain their addiction. Do not protect their substance use, even if it looks like they have learned the rules of safe drinking. This means you should separate yourself from all empathy towards their behavior. If you truly love the person, you will hate their addiction.
2. Do not bail an alcoholic out of jailThere are countless cases where an alcoholic will end up in prison. He or she may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or have committed another alcohol-related crime. It is important you let them hit that rock bottom and realize what a mess their life has become. Let your alcoholic friend or family member realize the damage theyre doing to themselves and those around them.
3. Do not stand behind their actionsHow to support an alcoholic and his or her behavior? Clean the mess they made. As harsh as this sounds, you should never take responsibility for the actions of an alcoholic. If you approve of their habits, an alcoholic will carry on acting as before, knowing there is someone they can use as a shield. Let them face the consequences themselves.
Also Check: How To Stop Addictive Behavior
The Benefits Of Accepting Powerlessness
Say the Serenity Prayer ten times a day. It promotes sanity and a healthy perspective. When we accept what we cannot do; we become free to focus our energies on what we can do. Theres a world of difference between being worried and being concerned. Our loved ones do not benefit from our being afraid for them.
Embrace the Knots Prayer and say it ten times a day. Its not as though we can simply change how we feel, but we do have choices every day as to what we will focus our time and efforts on. Our efforts can benefit others impacted by addiction and can be placed toward productive ends, or we become resentful when we put our lives on hold waiting for others to get better. Go out and live.
Stop Enabling The Addiction
Its also important to understand the difference between helping and enabling. If youre financially supporting a loved one whos struggling with addiction or lying to help them hide the problem, then youre enabling.1
When you recognize this behavior and stop it, the benefits are twofold. First, your loved one will begin to see the consequences of their actions. Second, by refusing to continue your enabling behaviors youll make it harder for your loved one to keep feeding their addiction.
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Taking On Their Responsibilities
Enablers often deal with something called codependency. Its not uncommon for someone to put the priorities of their struggling loved one before their own. This could mean many things, such as paying their rent, keeping their place clean, or simply taking care of them. This behavior reinforces the addict, making it easier for them to live the life theyre living.;
When the enabler takes on the responsibilities of the addict, its harmful to each party. The enabler is riddled with all of the problems that the addict has shrugged off. Enablers often give their loved ones struggling with addiction money, even while knowing they will use it for drugs. The road to recovery is complicated and overwhelming, Addiction Intervention can help you find treatment.;
Allow Criminal Activity To Be Prosecuted
A great deal of the behaviour associated with an addiction is illegal. People with addictions might steal money or drugs, purchase or sell illegal drugs, or drive while intoxicated or impaired. These are crimes, and families might have the money, the legal connections, or both to help their loved ones escape the legal consequences of these addictions. But in the end, thats not smart.
No one wants to go to jail, and no one wants to have a criminal record, and it can be extremely hard to watch a loved one go to jail or prison. The consequences are swift, and they tend to be severe. Families that intervene too early could remove a very real addiction consequence that could prompt their loved one to get help. Families that dont interfere with that process could help the person they love.
Stop Actions That Allow The Behavior To Continue
Are you working and paying some of the bills that the alcoholic would be paying if they hadn’t lost their job or missed time from work due to drinking? Or are you providing food and shelter for this person?
If so, you could be enabling. You are providing them with a “safety net” that allows them to lose or skip their job with no real consequences.
Signs You Are Enabling Your Loved Ones Addiction
Because it is so demanding, addiction requires a system of enabling to be sustainable. While not every addiction is the same, and not every enabler fits the classic portrayal of codependency, there are many recognizable signs you are enabling your loved ones addiction. Ask yourself if you identify with any of the following examples of enabling behavior.
Getting Your Addicted Loved One The Help They Need
The reality is that loving an addict is one of the most painful relationships you can go through. Watching someone you love hurt themselves so intensely is hard. However, ensuring that you are not enabling your loved one could mean the difference between life and death.
Addiction is a chronic disease, which means it will only get worse over time if left untreated. If you are unsure how to successfully help your addicted loved one, contact us today to learn how we can help.
Take Advantage Of Resources
Finally, remember that you do not have to figure out this situation alone. Attempting to place the of someone elses addiction on your shoulders only creates more harm. Fortunately, you;can avoid this by taking advantage of the;resources;available;to you.;This is;the;quickest way to save;you;and your loved one from;unnecessary;stress and heartache. ;
Maybe you do not know where to start? The first way you can take advantage of resources is to educate yourself.;Study credible websites that address the substance abuse issue your loved one is facing. You can even make it sociable. Maybe you and your loved one watch a documentary on the issue and have a supportive discussion afterward. If you can understand their addiction you will understand the risks and avoid enabling behaviors.;;
In short, after doing what you can to educate yourself, the best step is to seek professional help. As we have learned, enabling behaviors have no place;on this journey and we can help you avoid them. Not only that, but we can help you and your loved one find the treatment options necessary and address any concerns you may have about the process.;Do not hesitate to give us a call today. Addiction is a beast best tamed quickly and you will need support. Remember that your feelings matter too and that while getting your loved one to recovery may be;uncomfortable, it is also vitally important. ;
Educate Yourself About Addiction
Before you approach your loved one, take the time to educate yourself about addiction, detox, withdrawal, and various treatment options. The more you know, the better youre able to approach the situation calmly and with confidence. Understanding what the person is going through, at least on an academic level, will help you speak knowledgeably when the time comes to discuss the problem.
How To Support Without Enabling
So the question becomes what is the difference between supporting and enabling a loved one in recovery? First, it is important to understand that the loved one is not as weak and vulnerable as you perceive them to be. Mothers in particular are wired to care for their children. Well, children need that attention. They are dependent on parents for everything, at least until a certain age of maturity. Mothers are so accustomed to putting their children first that they become blind to the reality that their child is now a teen or young adult, and have the capacity to make decisions and take action themselves. They do not need mommy to do it for them.
So, support is saying I am aware, I am here, and I am available to talk. Enabling is I stocked your fridge , I paid your bills , and will help you get out of that misdemeanor charge at court. The person in recovery needs to experience hunger if they refuse to spend their money on food. They need to go through the hassle and expense of getting their electricity turned back on. They need to handle their own legal problems that they themselves caused. In essence, the individual in recovery needs to assume the responsibilities of his or her life.
There are many different ways that family members can be supportive of their loved one in recovery. These actions send the message that you love them, and that you are supportive of their recovery efforts. Supportive actions may include:
How To Stop Enabling Someone
Enabling someone you care about isnt an easy habit to break. Youll have to redefine what supporting your loved one really means, and that may mean doing things that make your loved one upset. Youll have to remember that even though they may get angry with you now, once theyre sober, theyll thank you for truly caring for them. Here are a few tips to stop enabling and start getting your loved one the help they need.
Dont make excuses for them
- No matter how much you want to, you cannot make excuses for the addicted person in your life. You have to face reality instead. Theyre not sick, theyre hungover. They didnt forget to pay their bills, they used the money to buy drugs or alcohol instead. Denying the problem doesnt make it go away. You must accept, acknowledge, and realize that theres a problem. At that point, you can assist your loved one in getting the help they need.
Dont take over their personal responsibilities
- When you pay some or all of your loved ones bills, take on their parenting duties, or clean up their messy house, you allow them the freedom to choose substances over their responsibilities. You relieve them of any sense of duty, making it okay to continue indulging in their addiction. Yes, it is scary to let your loved one fail to uphold their responsibilities because aspects of their lives may be falling apart. We understand that. But we also know that their life falling apart may be the wake-up call they need.
Do not loan or give them money
Signs Of Enabling Behavior
There are several signs associated with enabling drug addiction. While most enabling behavior may have a loved ones best intentions in mind, it may hurt the individual and family in the long run. Most enablers are under the impression they are helping, which is not the case. Some signs related to enabling drug addiction are:
What Constitutes Enabling
Those wanting to learn how to help an addict must first learn what enabling is. Enabling involves keeping someone from facing the consequences of his or her actions. Some ways in which people do this include:
- Loaning money or paying bills
- Lying or helping to cover up ones drug use
- Allowing someone to live in your home even after breaking rules
- Helping an individual avoid legal consequences
- Performing more work around the house because the other person isnt able to
People do these things for a number of reasons. Maybe its just easier to take on more responsibility than it is to get someone else to do them. Perhaps you worry that the kids will suffer or that youll face embarrassment if others find out.
What you may not realize is that by doing these things, you are making it more likely that someone will continue using drugs. Even so, its entirely possible to learn how to help an addict without enabling that person. Rather than rescuing others from their own bad choices, you should encourage them to seek addiction help instead.
No Shame In Getting Help
Learning ways on how to help an addict is always the best thing a loved one can do.; Sometimes those ways can be difficult for a loved one to actually put into practice. How to support an addict without enabling is really the initial starting point for a loved one. You should want the best for your loved one, and enabling is never whats best for them. It is important to know that the end goal for an addict to get better is with treatment. There is only so much you can do for them. It will be vital that you support them while they are going through treatment. Make sure you encourage them and never make them feel ashamed for getting help.; There is never any shame in getting help. If you have set many boundaries that has put a strain on your relationship with the addict, try to reach back out to them as they are going through treatment. Make an effort to spend more time with them, and ask them how their treatment is going. If you have a loved one yourself who is going through an addiction, please call us at and learn what more you can do to get them into treatment.
Expertise You Can Trust
Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we provide care you can trust. The majority of our expert staff members are in active recovery, so they know what enablement looks like and how this behavior can disrupt the recovery process. They also know the type of excuses, blame games, and stories that are common with addiction. At the same time, our team understands the power of boundaries to lead to rehabilitation and recovery. They know what it takes and theyre ready and willing to help get your loved one on the road to recovery.
Contact us today by calling 855-629-3757. Were here to answer any questions you may have.
How To Know If Youre Enabling An Addicted Loved One
Enabling happens in many different ways and forms but you might be enabling an addicted loved one if you:
- Ignore their behavior or say it isnt that bad.
- Provide them with money or somewhere to stay while they are in active addiction.
- Downplay the severity of their problem.
- Lie to other people about whats going on.
- Cover up their addictive behavior.
- Shield and protect them from consequences.
- Tolerate mental, verbal, emotional, or physical abuse because they didnt mean it.
The Dangers Of Enabling
Enabling actually does more harm than good for the addict. One of the more obvious ways is that enabling keeps the person in active addiction, meaning they continue their drug use mainly through the support of the enabler. Thus the addict will never really see that they are causing harm to others or to themselves. Enabling will only allow the addict to develop an even further tolerance to their drugs which eventually lead them to making their drug abuse even more of a habit. Another reason why enabling is destructive is because you are taking away the addicts resilience. When someone is an enabler to an addict, they end up doing everything that the addict should be doing themselves. For example, giving them money when they havent earned it nor have a job of their own. You may clean up after their own mess, or you may allow them to lounge around all day not helping out around the house if they are living with you.; They revert to being a child again, developing those characteristics, making it even harder for them to get their lives in order.
What Does Enabling Someone Mean
Enabling behavior looks a lot like helping but it isnt. When you enable someone, you give them the authority or means to do something. Behavioral therapists describe enablement as doing things for an addict that they could do for themselves if they were sober. Think of it this way: when you pay for your addicted loved ones bills, youre enabling them because they would pay their own bills themselves if they were sober.
There are four types of enabling behavior: