Setting Boundaries With An Addict
When you set boundaries, you establish ground rules for you and your addicted loved one. Ground rules let your loved one know what you will and wont accept. When you follow through on those expectations, your loved one becomes responsible for their own actions and consequences. This helps them face reality and seek help. But ultimately, the boundaries are for you. You have to decide to say no and put your foot down. Let your loved one who has a substance abuse problem know that:
- You will not allow any drinking or drug use around you, in your home, or on your property.
- You will not tolerate abusive behavior in any form.
- You will not bail them out of jail or pay for a lawyer.
- You will not give them any money for any reason.
- You will not lie or cover for them regardless of the circumstance.
- You wont allow them to bring drug paraphernalia into your home.
- You love them and will support their recovery by helping them find an addiction treatment program.
These boundaries are only powerful if you enforce them. If not, you can slip right back into enablement, which can make the situation worse.
How To Stop Enabling An Addicted Loved One
The most effective manner in which to cease your enabling behaviors and confront the disease of addiction plaguing your loved one is to initiate open and honest communication. This will remove the mystique from the situation and confront the realities of their addiction.
If you are nervous about having this conversation on your own, you can always contact a qualified mediation professional to guide you through the process and ensure that the conversation maintains its civility and avoids unnecessary escalation. Al Anon can also serve as a powerful support group to help you quit enabling behaviors.
When You Stop Being An Enabler
Many times when an enabling system is removed, the fear will force a person with an alcohol use problem to seek help, but there are no guarantees. This can be extremely difficult to accept.
Take some time to learn more about enabling and the family disease of alcoholism, attend an Al-Anon meeting in your area. It may also be helpful to learn more about the resources and information available for families affected by alcoholism.
Attending Al-Anon in person will help you feel more empowered as you stop enabling, and less alone in the process. Unfortunately, none of us can control what another will do.
Yet we do have the power to set boundaries and respect our own lives. Consider 10 things to stop doing if you love an alcoholic that can help you take back your own life whether or not your alcoholic gives up drinking.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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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.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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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.
Seek Professional Help For Addiction
Addiction is not a choice, but a disease. Just like any other disease, it needs to be treated by a team of professionals trained to help those struggling with addiction.
Reach out to an interventionist or a treatment specialist. As professionals, they will be able to show you how to get a loved one into treatment, restore balance to the family and support someone throughout the recovery process. Theyll also be able to suggest treatment programs that would be a good fit your addicted family member.
Those trained to treat addiction arent just there to help the family, but also their addicted loved one. For example, a trained interventionist will help an addicted person take responsibility for their actions and seek treatment in order to better their life and the life of their loved one.
Arming yourself and your family with the help and knowledge of a trained professional will dramatically increase the chances of getting the addicted person in your life into rehab.
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Start Encouraging Rehab Drug Treatment
Your family needs to address the importance of drug treatment. You may turn to a facility, like Peace Valley Recovery, to discuss an intervention or treatment program that could help your loved one. When the time is right, talking to your loved one about how their drug dependence has affected your lives will encourage them to take the right step toward rehab treatment.
Professional Help Is Only A Call Away
At Clear Life Recovery, we help people battle their addictions with a personalized treatment plan. We know that each persons addiction is different. Thats why we offer customized plans. With the choices of both inpatient and outpatient programs, everyone can find one that best suits their lifestyle.
We also encourage loved ones to take part in the rehab process. We understand that loving an addict can be difficult. This is why we offer ways to involve them in the program. If you want to help someone you love get the support they need to battle their addiction, call Clear Life Recovery today or contact us online.
How to Stop Enabling an Alcoholic or Addict , https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-stop-enabling-an-alcoholic-63083
Enabler: Definition, Behavior, Psychology, Recognizing One, More , https://www.healthline.com/health/enabler#signs
The Most Important Things You Can Do To Help an Alcoholic , https://www.healthline.com/health/most-important-things-you-can-do-help-alcoholic#takeaway
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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.
How To Stop Enabling Drug Or Alcohol Misuse
You may realize at this point that you have been enabling your loved one with alcoholism and wonder how to change. In a way, learning to stop enabling another person’s drug or alcohol misuse can be very empowering.
It may be helpful to remember that you can’t change other people but you can change your behaviors and reactions towards those people. Here are several practical ways in which you can stop being an enabler today.
Save from legal consequences
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Consider Staging An Intervention
One important way to support an addict without enabling them is to stage an intervention. This can be a crucial part of the healing process for your loved one. It is the type of tough love that holds both you and your loved one accountable. An intervention may look like firmly cutting off financial support. Another example would be sitting the addicted person down and having a firm talk about rehab.
These conversations can and will likely be very difficult. You may have to model how to support an addict for other family members. Ultimately, it is the boost that may be necessary for getting your loved one back on the right track.
Our specialists can help you stage an intervention the is right for you and the addict in your life. Need further assistance with having an intervention for someone? Then call us today.
If you had been enabling prior to the intervention it is important to remain stern. If the addict senses you are hesitant it may encourage them to manipulate the situation and guilt you back into those negative behaviors. You just have to remember that it is better to be stern with the goal of recovery than to waiver and risk the situation becoming a tragedy. Addiction claims the lives of far too many people and ultimately all we can do is encourage the addict to change for themselves.
Signs My Love One Is Addicted To Drugs Or Alcohol
Drug and alcohol addiction looks different from person to person. It is important to know what the common symptoms of addiction may look like in your loved one so you can better understand how to help. Different substances have unique effects however, some signs of addiction occur regardless of the substance used. Some of the more recognizable indications of substance use may include new or worsening difficulties at work or school, changes in physical health, changes to hygiene and personal appearance, new or worsening financial problems, mood swings, increased isolation, and new legal struggles related to substance use. You may also notice your loved one making excuses for drinking or using drugs or choosing to drink or use over participating in once enjoyed activities or necessary obligations.
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Why Enabling Will Never Be A Solution To Battling The Disease Of Addiction
Addiction is a complex brain disease that can only be treated with specialized addiction treatment services. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that give a person self-control. These and other changes can be seen clearly in brain imaging studies of people with a drug addiction. For this reason, someone struggling with chemical dependency needs professional help to overcome their problem.
No amount of enabling will ever fix or cure the disease of addiction. It will only make the situation worse. Any effort you put forth to lessen the pain of an addict or alcoholic will be futile. The only real way someone with a drug or alcohol problem will be motivated to get help is when they are forced to feel the pain addiction is causing them. This can only happen if the people closest to them will allow that to happen.
The challenge in dealing with an addicted person is that they usually cant see that they have a problem because they are blinded by denial. They will minimize the severity of their addiction and tell themselves it isnt that bad. As a result, you may find yourself engaged in a constant battle trying to show the person they are sick.
Avoiding Enablement Is Worth It In The Long Run
Enabling addiction is a simple concept, but something that is incredibly difficult to avoidbecause it goes against so many of our instincts when it comes to how we treat those we love. With some education and preparation, you stand a better chance of doing the right thing for both yourself and the addict that you care about by not enabling their behavior. The old adage you can lead a horse to water but cant make it drink sums it up there is simply no way to get an addict to understand that he or she needs help unless they are willing to accept reality.
Given the situation, fight for the best outcome by taking care of yourself, doing research, and not being afraid to hold your boundaries. Although tough love may be more difficult in the short-term, remember the long-term benefits for the addict and your own well-being. Indeed, for many addicts, it was getting cut off from their loved ones that proved to be part of their rock bottom and a turning point in their addiction. Having important relationships suddenly evaporate is an extremely serious negative consequence that can provide a much-needed reality check.
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Dont Make Excuses Or Cover Up The Behavior
Some of the most egregious things that happen during the course of an addiction take place when the person is actively intoxicated, and often, drugs of abuse cause persistent memory loss. Alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, can cause discernable memory changes after just one or two drinks. The more people drink, the more they forget. Some drugs work in the same way.
The familys goal is to make sure that the addicted person sees the consequences of the addiction, so that means the family cant be the cleanup crew. If someone stumbles home and falls asleep in the yard, that person stays in the yard. If the person becomes loud at a party, the family doesnt smooth over the social interaction. The person is forced to deal with all of those consequences alone.
Families should also resist the urge to keep a persons workplace reputation pristine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people with addictions are much more likely to miss work, when compared to people who dont have addictions. Families may try to smooth this by calling in sick for an addicted person, or they might push an addicted person to stop working altogether, so theres a smaller chance of embarrassment. All of those actions should stop, too.
How To Help An Addict
Look for signs that indicate youre enabling. For example, think about whether you ignore certain problems or deny they even exist. Consider the lengths you go to in order to cover things up or prevent the another person from facing the consequences of their actions. Determine if you routinely place the addicts needs above your own .
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How To Love An Addict Without Enabling
When loved ones struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is hard to know how to help. Because addiction often has a significant and harmful impact on those who use or drink, it can change their behavior, personality, and overall health. While these changes hurt the person who struggles with addiction, many do not realize the harmful effects addiction has on friends, family, or loved ones. People often want to help a loved one struggling with addiction, but they do know where to start. Also, they may want to help without feeling as though they are part of the problem. This challenge, known as enabling, is a very common struggle for those who have an addicted loved one in their lives.
Join A Support Group Like Al
Even though it is easy to neglect your own needs when trying to love and support an addict, self-care is vital. Plus, you have likely been through a lot and could use some support yourself. Fortunately, groups like Al-Anon are available nationwide to support family members of alcoholics. Al-Anon is a free program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous where family members and friends can gain support and guidance from their peers.
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Love The Person But Reject The Behavior
Since deciding not to help someone in need can feel antithetical to loving them, it might be helpful to offer alternative expressions of care. For example, if your friend is having budgeting problems, you can say to them, “I love you, but Im not going to go shopping with you. We can have coffee or take a walk outside,” Dr. Daramus suggests.
Seek Help For Yourself
The recovery process can be just as hard on you as it is on your loved one. Whether you convince them to seek treatment or not, its important for you to take care of your own mental health.
Consider seeking one-on-one counseling or attending a support group like Narc-Anon or Al-Anon. This will help you face your feelings and give you the tools you need to navigate through this difficult time.
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A List Of Examples Of Enabling Behavior That Lead To Codependency
To help explain what it means to enable someone with a drug or alcohol problem, it might be most helpful if we provide a list of examples of enabling behavior. Here are some scenarios where friends, family members, and co-workers might be guilty of enabling:
These are just a few of the most common examples of enabling behavior, which leads to codependent relationships. If you are engaging in any of these examples of enabling, you are hurting NOT helping.
When an addicted person is enabled by family and friends, it will inevitably drive them deeper into chemical dependency and rob them of experiencing the devastating repercussions of their own consequences.