Are You Enabling a Loved One’s Addiction?
When someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol – whether that person is your spouse, a relative or a close friend – that addiction affects you in just as many ways as it does them. It can be difficult, and even painful, to watch someone struggle with the insidious disease of addiction. It’s completely understandable that you want to carry part or all of that burden on your shoulders.
However, it’s essential to recognize when you are walking a fine line between helping and enabling. Recognizing and stopping your enabling behavior can be all the difference in your loved one’s ability to rediscover their health and happiness.
What Is Enabling?
When you provide any form of support that allows your loved one’s addiction to deepen, you have become an enabler. Though enabling can take many forms, some of the most common examples include the following.
- Covering up for someone: Addicted people often engage in risky or self-destructive behavior like lying or stealing. Making excuses for them or apologizing on their behalf if they become argumentative in a public setting are instances of this.
- Hiding the evidence: Addicts often experience blackouts, during which they are not aware of their actions. Cleaning up any messes they have made during this time, or moving them into bed when they pass out, exemplify this.
- Offering financial help: If someone you love is spending all their money on fueling their addiction, and you agree to step in and pay their bills or buy drugs or alcohol for them, you are enabling their addiction to deepen because they never have to face any negative financial consequences.
- Pretending there is not a problem: Tiptoeing around the fact that your loved one is addicted in an attempt not to rock the boat is dangerous because it allows them to continue to hide from reality.
Breaking the Cycle of Enabling
Some addicts will only admit they need professional treatment after reaching a tipping point. By supporting them financially or trying to sweep the problem under the rug, you are ensuring your loved one’s addiction can continue with no negative consequences, therefore allowing them to avoid getting the professional addiction help they need.
Helping a loved one break free of addiction can be challenging because it requires you to admit to the role you have played in deepening the addiction, then commit to stop making their life easier. That doesn’t mean you should turn your back on them or cut them out of your life entirely, but you do need to give them the time and space they need to admit to the fact that they are out of control and need to get help.
Change Your Loved One’s Life With One Phone Call
There is no cure for addiction, but with help, it is possible for people to manage the disease and keep it in check. Rather than continuing to enable, persuading your loved one to take the steps they need to get clean and sober is the best way you can play a role in supporting them as they seek recovery.
Don’t let someone you care about fall further down the spiral of addiction. Contact us today on behalf of your spouse, friend or family member and give them the push they need to enter qualified detox treatment.