Enabling An Addict

Addiction is an experience that no one expects, but many go through either themselves or by someone they know. Everyone reacts differently after they become aware of aa close friend or family member struggling with an intense drug or alcohol addiction. Some like to turn a blind to the issue to save face and others react in anger and begin finding every reason to blame the addict. Since most of us don’t plan for people close to us to develop an addiction, we often are caught by surprise and are unsure of how to deal with new knowledge that someone has one. It is especially common for family members to pick up slack for their loved ones and come to believe that they are helping those individuals find healing. In reality, that “love” they believe is being provided is actually harmful enablement that only hinders the success of the s when, in reality, they are acting as enablers. To truly help an addict, family members need to be not only firm and honest, but willing to confront them about the consequences of their substance abuse. Let’s walk through the best tips to avoid enabling a loved one struggling with addiction.

Enabling an addict can hinder their success.

How To Avoid Enabling Behavior

Enabling can easily become mixed up with caring for a loved one who has addiction. Good intentions sometimes can cause empathetic or fearful people to broaden their boundaries and tolerate more conflict. With addiction, they become more prone to allowing dangerous behavior continue, cross the line, or be excused for. Researchers suggest that a family member’s motivation to enable a loved one’s addiction stems from four different emotions caused by the stressful information. These four main categories include enablement stemming from feelings of fear, guilt, hope and being a victim. Addicts can easily realize these emotions and may take advantage of those who may not know better.

One key behavior of enablement to avoid includes putting your personal priorities aside to support the addict. Parents of teenagers especially are motivated to put all of their needs behind the addict in order to show that they care and see them as important. The truth is that parents who are routinely missing important meetings, time with their own friends, sending in notes of excused absences, financially paying for their kid’s mistakes and more are creating unneeded stress. An addict who is being taken care of on the daily won’t have any motivation or true reasons to “wake up” and shape up their lifestyle. Assuming too many responsibilities to the addict removes accountability and allows them to fully indulge in their addiction overall.

Another key behavior to avoid is by allowing the addiction to continue behind closed doors. It can be very difficult for any addict to quit their drug or alcohol use all at once, and some parents resort to allowing doses of substance abuse to persist only within the walls of their home. The idea behind this method is that they hope the addict will not be abusing substances outside in dangerous areas and can be monitored in case something goes wrong. It’s already a bad idea to allow an addiction to persist, and with lenience also brings on reason for the addict to change their self-deprecating behavior. Parents or siblings may start to see an increase in substance abuse or social isolation as they learn that they own bedroom or bathroom can be a new area to feed their needs.

Start An Intervention

Addictions need time sensitive action. Don’t resort to covering up or avoiding the addict’s situation because it makes you feel uncomfortable as a parent, sibling, or close friend.  Delaying the situation in any way is incredibly dangerous and will only make the addiction worse over time. The quickest and most successful way to stop an addiction is to address it head on. Reach out to local rehab centers that specialize in drug or alcohol addiction and ask for advice on how to stop enablement of their behavior.

The first step on leading a great intervention is by gathering a group of people who all know the addict well and can hold their ground while speaking about the consequences of the person’s behavior. They must not be too emotional or monotone during the intervention and either extreme can cause the addict to potentially “check out” of the exchange. Gain knowledge on how to host an intervention so the addict’s issues and chain of consequences are brought to light. Write down bullet points of topics that must be covered and have a comeback for any possible objection that the addict can say when being pushed to attend treatment. Having a plan to lead the conversation to allow the addict to understand various perspectives from people they care about and learn about effective ways for treatment can make a huge difference.

An addict who may seem unwilling to change or out of touch could come around once they realize how much “their people” truly care about them. It takes time and patience to make sure an intervention is thoroughly prepared for and well executed. Even if the truth seems too harsh to bear on the addict, bringing reality forward is necessary. Remember; sometimes “tough love” is the true love that addicts need to climb out of their daily struggle with drugs or alcohol.

Growing Out Of Addiction

Anything is possible and with the help of a family team an addict can successfully grow out of their addiction. They will need patience, understanding and open lines of communication in order to get started on their healing journey to sobriety. Make sure you educate yourself on how enabling behavior from family members or close friends can hurt any addict in the long run. Preventing these choices can speed up their recovery process and save lots of stress for your sake!

Leave a Reply