If you have a friend or family member that struggles with addiction, it is likely that you have heard the phrase, “you to need to stop enabling the addict.” We always want the best for our loved ones, especially those struggling with addiction. We believe that we are doing the right thing when helping them. At the end of the day, we may not realize that our helping could be enabling the habits and behaviours of someone struggling with addiction. When we enable an addict, we are preventing them from seeing the total consequences to their actions and/or behaviours.
Some signs that you are enabling an addict include:
Not following through with consequences to boundaries
When we set boundaries for the addict in our lives and aren’t able to follow through with our words, it gives the message that they don’t need to change and that you will always be there, no matter what. For example, threatening to leave if they don’t get clean or seek help and not proceeding to follow through with this consequence when they don’t, is a form of enabling.
Taking over responsibilities that they can and should be handling
Most addicts are not able to follow through with commitments or promises they make to others. This could include paying their portion of the bills, providing shelter for them or simply taking over household chores they would normally be required to do. Being their safety net allows the addict to continue life as is without any accountability.
Many addicts struggle financially due to the amount of money being spent on their addictions. No matter what the person says they plan to use the money for, giving them more money fuels their addiction because it voids them of financial responsibility.
Rescuing them from legal issues
It’s hard to see a loved one struggling and it’s even harder to see them in jail. This does not mean that the best move is to jump to their rescue. For some, jail time could be the wake up call they need to seek out the addiction rehabilitation assistance you and everyone that cares for them knows they need.
Putting the addicts needs before your own
It is natural to want to help your loved one. However, when it comes at the expense of your own health, wants and needs, your help may have gone too far because it is jeopardizing your well-being.
Acting out of fear of negative reactions
Enablers tend to shy away from conflict. They will therefore make choices in the addict’s best interest to avoid issues, but this will indirectly feed and encourage the addictive behaviours.
Ignoring bad behaviours
Enablers will very often ignore bad behaviours and only focus on the positive qualities, such as the person being very loving, caring, and seeks out forgiveness. This encourages an addict to not address their maladaptive behaviours.
Blaming other people and situations for the addict’s bad behaviour
Rather than putting accountability where it belongs, on the addict, the enabler will make excuses to blame anyone else for their bad behaviour and decisions.
Acknowledging and then breaking the habit of enabling an addict is not an easy feat. It is however, required for the addict to fully understand their addiction and the consequences to their actions.
For help on how to stop enabling the addict in your life or to discuss how The Farm Rehab’s addiction treatment program can help your loved one, give us a call at 1-877-353-2777.