It is human nature to want to help another person who is suffering from an illness like addiction. Sometimes though, a meaningful attempt to help can turn into enablement. If you find that you display any of these seven signs, it is possible that you are enabling your loved one to further his or her addiction. Fortunately, once you have recognized your tendency to enable the addict, you will be able to identify and change your patterns of behavior.
You Avoid Discussing the Problem
Do you worry about your loved one’s addiction but never actually discuss it? Some people avoid talking about the issue to prevent awkwardness, while others might avoid it because they fear the addict will become enraged. Regardless, this is a common signal of enablement.
You Support the Addict Financially
Do you frequently lend the addict a few bucks for gas or groceries? It may seem harmless to help the addict out in this way, but you can never be sure what your money is actually going toward. This financial support is a common enabling behavior.
You Rescue the Addict from Consequences
Do you ever have to take the blame for something the addict has done so that he or she does not get in trouble? Showing the addict that he does not have to face the consequences of his behavior enables him to continue uninhibited in his addiction..
You Lie or Make Excuses for the Addict
Do you sometimes tell your friends that the addict is too busy to make it out to dinner when she is actually just too intoxicated? Do you ever tell others that the addict only drinks because she is under a lot of stress at work? Lying or making excuses like these is one of the most common signs of enablement.
You Participate with the Addict
Do you ever have a casual drink with the addict or abuse drugs together? If you tell the addict one day that it is wrong to drink but hit the bar with him the next day, he will be unable to decipher how you actually feel. This enables the addict to ignore that the addiction is a problem.
You Fail to Set Boundaries
Do you ever feel used or unsafe by the addict’s actions when she is drunk or high? If so, have you ever discussed with the addict while she was sober why those particular actions are not acceptable? Failure to discuss these things and to set clear boundaries is a common form of enabling. Furthermore, it can be just as problematic to set boundaries without following through with the consequences you had previously defined.
You Sacrifice Your Needs for Those of the Addict
Do you ever catch yourself putting off your work responsibilities, household chores, or email responses because you have to pick up the addict from a bar or a club? This can lead him to believe that there will always be someone to clean up after his destructive behavior.
Get Help for Addiction
Addiction is a condition that is damaging not only to the addict, but also to his family and loved ones. Therefore, if you or someone you know has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addiction treatment options.