It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love struggle. You want to do whatever you can to help them and save them from this pain. However, this often only serves to enable your loved one to continue their pattern of substance use and doesn’t lead to necessary changes.
Signs of Enabling
Some people don’t even realize that they are enabling addiction. They fail to see the connection between their actions and their loved one’s ongoing addiction. These are some common enabling behaviors:
- Giving someone money for rent, utilities, groceries, etc. because they spent their money on drugs or alcohol.
- Driving them to or from the bar so they won’t be driving under the influence or because they have their license suspended.
- Making excuses for their behavior while they are intoxicated.
- Covering up for them or trying to fix their mistakes.
Stepping back and letting them experience the natural consequences of their actions can be a wake-up call. Allowing them to struggle can help them to see that it is a serious situation and they need help.
Stopping Enabling Behavior
Although you may feel as though you are helping your loved one out, what you are doing is giving them no reason to change. They can continue doing what they’ve been doing because the consequences have been minimal and someone always has their back. It’s time to stop this behavior and support them in entering treatment.
Express your concerns about their well-being and encourage them to seek treatment. Let them know that you will support them in recovery and want to see them get better. If you have been enabling, set clear boundaries and expectations. Let them know that you’ll no longer be financially supporting them or covering up for their mistakes.
Above It All can help you hold an intervention and direct your loved one toward treatment. We provide the comprehensive care you’re looking for to support your loved one in achieving long-term recovery.
- Foundations Recovery Network, 7 Signs Your Enabling an Addict. Accessed March 2, 2016.
- The Treatment Center, How to Stop Enabling My Drug-Addicted Adult Child. Accessed March 15, 2016.
- Very Well Mind, How to Stop Enabling an Alcoholic or Addict. Accessed March 21, 2016.
- Inspire Malibu, 5 Tips to Avoid Enabling an Addict. Accessed March 26, 2016.
- Futures Recovery Healthcare, The Difference Between Helping and Enabling. Accessed March 21, 2016.