How Do I Know If I’m Enabling an Addict?
It can be tough to tell the difference between enabling an addict and helping an addict recover from their addiction. When a loved one is struggling with an alcohol and drug addiction, you may want to help them but it’s important to understand when your idea of helping becomes more harmful than good.
Enabling an Addict
So what exactly does enabling an addict mean and how does it differ from being supportive toward of their recovery? Enabling an addict essentially prevents the addict from suffering consequences of their addiction, which ultimately encourages the cycle of their addiction to continue. When your child, significant other, sibling, or loved one suffers from addiction, it’s hard to not want to do everything you can to help them. However, it’s important to know where to draw the line because enabling an addict can prolong their use and keep them from reaching the bottom they may need to hit in order to get clarity about their addiction.
Enabling an addict can be as simple as coming up with excuses for the addict’s behavior or even bailing the addict out of jail after they have been arrested for drug possession or a crime related to their drug use. However, other ways you may enable an addict can include hiding the addict’s behavior from others, avoiding the addict as an attempt to prevent a confrontation or fight, paying the addict’s rent or giving them money on a regular basis, blaming other people for the addict’s actions, etc. If you notice that you are engaging in enabling behaviors like these, then it’s time to focus on more effective ways of supporting your loved one’s recovery.
Helping an Addict with Recovery
While you may think that giving your loved one money to help them “pay bills” or “buy groceries” is helpful, the reality is that your loved one may be manipulating you – and your letting it continue. The same goes for continuing to help get them out of trouble because the more you prevent them from experiencing consequences, the more likely they are to continue with their drug use. One of the most effective ways that you can actually help instead of hinder your loved one’s recovery is by encouraging open-communication with your loved one. Let your loved one know that you are always willing to listen if they need to vent or talk about any distress. You can even offer to spend more quality time with your loved one or go to a 12 Step meeting with your loved one.
It can be confusing when you have to tell the difference between enabling an addict and supporting their recovery, but it’s critical to take a look at the motivation behind your own actions. If you find that you take action as a way to control a situation that is beyond your control, then you may be engaging in enabling behavior. On the other hand, if your actions are motivated by the desire to help your loved one get clean and sober, then you’re more likely to be supporting them in a healthy way. For example, if your loved one needs help finding a treatment center to go to in order to recover from their addiction, it is not enabling to help them find a reputable rehab center, assist with travel costs or deductibles, etc.
A great way to take a look at your own actions and receive support when dealing with an addicted loved one is by going to Nar-Anon, which is designed to help the loved ones of addicts. Being able to get support and remain accountable for your own behaviors can ultimately help you be there for your addicted loved one in the most effective ways.
The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs offers alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs that have been helping patients for over 20 years. If your loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there is no better inpatient rehab center to turn to for help than The Watershed. With individualized care and effective treatment services, your loved one can ease into recovery and learn how to maintain their sobriety long-term. Don’t wait to reach out for help. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, addiction recovery, drug addiction, enable, enabling, Recovery