It is easy to fall into the trap of enabling an addict. It feels like love, but enabling only harms the addict and your relationship with him. If you love an addict, you can be supportive, loving and caring without enabling the addiction and the addictive behaviors. The first step is to recognize whether you are an enabler. From that awareness, you can learn how to take steps to support and love your addict without encouraging his habit.
What does it mean to enable someone? It doesn’t necessarily mean taking active steps to help someone continue his or her addiction. An obvious enabler, for instance, would be a drug dealer, the person supplying an addict. Loved ones are typically more subtle enablers. You do things or say things, or fail to do or say things, that perpetuate the addiction and negative behaviors in the one you love. You take away the consequences of his negative behaviors. Here are some examples of enabling:
For many loved ones of addicts, enabling seems like caring and loving. It feels like you are helping him by taking care of the responsibilities that he can’t handle at the moment or by giving him a safe place to sleep at night. By taking away the consequences of his addiction, you are removing any incentive for him to get help. Not doing these things might seem like you are being mean or uncaring, but you can stop enabling while still loving your addict. Here’s what you need to do:
Loving an addict is tough. You hate to see him suffer. You hate to see the consequences of his actions, but cleaning up after him and giving him what he needs to keep using isn’t love. It’s enabling. You can still love him and support him without enabling. Take a good look at your actions and decide if you need to make some changes.
Posted on April 8th, 2016 in Blog