Enabling is very common in a relationship between someone suffering from addiction and their family and friends. Enabling is defined as “to make possible; to make able.” Typically family members and friends only want to help their loved one who is suffering from addiction. However, the way they help the addict in their life can be counterproductive and they are unaware they are even doing it. This is called enabling.
Types of Enabling
- Overlooking the problem that their loved one is suffering from addiction and not doing anything about it.
- Giving their friend or family member who suffers with addiction money.
- Providing assistance when the addict asks for help in situations they got themselves into from using drugs or alcohol.
- Being in denial when the addict coaxes and manipulates their family.
- Being in denial or unaware of drug seeking behavior.
Enabling vs. Helping
Whenever our loved ones are in a difficult situation or harming themselves by adopting a harmful lifestyle such as becoming an addict, we naturally want to help them out. But sometimes, without realizing it, the families or even friends play the role of enablers instead of helpers. Your intentions might be right, but you really need to know the difference between helping and enabling to carry out your well-meaning purpose.
- Doing something for the addict that they should and could do for themselves.
- Anything that delays the natural consequences of addiction is enabling.
- Anything that supports the idea that addiction is not the problem is enabling.
- Doing something for the addict that they could not do for themselves.
- Anything that does not delay the natural consequences of addiction.
- Not delaying the opportunity to get proper treatment for them.
Three Important Actions to Take if you have a Loved one Suffering from Addiction:
Here is what you need to do, if you don’t want to be an enabler:
- Love them without judgment, realize they are not a bad person.
- Set healthy boundaries, and do not accept unacceptable behavior.
- Detach with love, remove yourself from the drama of addiction, while still loving them.
- You need to quit those things that may allow the addicts to fulfill their addiction needs.
- Do not provide money for addiction to them.
Examples of how Families Enable
Here are some examples that explain how some people enable an addict:
- Giving an addict money even if they have a job and are capable of paying for things.
- Giving rides and providing transportation to the addict.
- Covering up for their behavior and actions.
- Knowing they have an addiction, still drinking or doing drugs with them.
- Not setting the boundaries and always giving them another chance.
- Allowing the addict to live in their household without paying rent.
- Knowing that their loved is drinking or doing drugs and ignoring it.
How to Help the Addict and Not Enable
- Set healthy boundaries.
- Send the addict into treatment.
- Support them throughout the recovery procedure.
- Let them deal with and know the consequences of their action.
- Do not enable, if the addict wants to leave treatment.
- Have a solid program when the addict leaves treatment.
These include an out-patient treatment program, sober living, a sponsor, a therapist etc.
With the right guidance a family can help and not enable their loved with to recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. If you have a friend or family member who needs help with their addiction please call (866) 206-8656.