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Enabling Addicts and Alcoholics

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 is…

  • 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.

Three important actions to take if you have a loved one suffering from addiction:

  • 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.

Examples of how Families Enable

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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