How To Stop Enabling Your Addicted Loved One

How To Stop Enabling Your Addicted Loved One

When you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may feel extremely isolated in your experience. But the reality is that over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (and that doesn't even include those who are addicted to tobacco products). That means that countless families just like yours are impacted, either directly or indirectly, by the addiction of someone they love. While the path to healing your loved one may choose to take (which often starts with the services provided by Christian alcohol treatment centers or rehab facilities) is their own, the family does play a unique role in both addiction and recovery.

In your quest to help your addicted loved one, you may have inadvertently adopted coping behaviors that actually perpetuate the problem. This is often referred to as enabling. In today's post, we'll discuss more about this topic and learn to recognize -- and put an end to -- some common enabling behaviors in the hopes that your loved one will agree to seek treatment at Christian alcohol treatment centers or at drug detox facilities.

What is enabling?

Enabling refers to something you might do for an alcoholic or addict that they can do themselves and/or that shields this individual from the consequences of their actions. It can also involve downplaying or ignoring the problem, keeping quiet for fear of repercussions, or covering up for the alcoholic or addict. In short, these are behaviors that allow an addicted person to continue living in a destructive, unhealthy way.

Telling the difference between enabling and helping

It may be difficult to differentiate helping your loved one from enabling them. Sometimes, this can fall into a gray area, especially if you have a teenager struggling with addiction. In the simplest terms, helping an addicted individual involves doing something for them that they could not do for themselves. Asking yourself whether this task is something your loved one is truly capable of or whether it's something that could shield them from the consequences of their actions may help to illuminate the difference.

Recognizing enabling behaviors

While much of the focus may be on your loved one and their addiction, loving relatives and friends must learn to recognize how their own behaviors can contribute to the cycle of addiction. These behaviors are often things we naturally do when we care about someone who is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction. However, they often allow an addicted individual to continue on their destructive path because there are no responsibilities or consequences for their actions.

If you want to stop enabling your addicted loved one, start by looking over this list and performing an honest assessment of your own actions. By making changes to your own cycle of enabling, you may convince them to seek out help at alcohol or drug rehabilitation centers. Changing these habits can be difficult; they can even feel cruel at times. But if you are steadfast in the knowledge that putting an end to your enabling is actually helping your loved one, this may be one of the initial and important steps in their (and your) recovery process.

Enabling behaviors can include...

  • Covering up, making excuses, or lying
  • Taking on their responsibilities
  • Cleaning up physical messes made by them
  • Giving or loaning money
  • Paying fines or bills for them
  • Providing a safety net with no consequences
  • Bailing them out of jail
  • Denying that a problem exists
  • Taking care of their needs before your own
  • Buying drugs or alcohol for them
  • Engaging in alcohol consumption or drug use with them
  • Preventing serious consequences warranted by their actions
This is by no means an exhaustive list of enabling behaviors. However, this list does illustrate how well-meaning loved ones can make it easier for an addicted person to not seek out help at Christian alcohol treatment centers or drug rehab treatment due to the comfort that their situation provides. To find out more about enabling and tips for family members or to learn more about how Christian alcohol treatment centers can help your loved one, please contact us today.

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