For many people who love individuals with addiction, getting help can feel impossible. Unfortunately, there are some family members and friends who actually contribute to, or enable, the addictions of their loved ones. Do you want to stop doing that? These tips will help.
What Does It Mean to Enable Somebody?
Enabling behaviors are complicated and often accidental. These behaviors occur when somebody makes it difficult or impossible for an addict to experience the consequences of their own behaviors. Enablers may protect or downplay the choices and behaviors an addict makes.
What Are Examples of Enabling Behaviors?
Have you ever loaned an addict money? Have you ever given an addict a place to live? Have you ever bought an addict substances because they promised they would get clean if you did? These are all examples of behaviors considered enabling.
Some enabling behaviors are those that are actually more hidden. For instance, you might keep your loved one's addiction a secret to avoid problems that could arise if people knew about it. You might bail people out financially or with legal help. You might blame somebody else for your loved one's addiction or behavior. You could also make threats that you never follow through with. These are all examples of enabling.
Why Do People Enable Loved Ones?
In many cases, people do not realize they are enabling their loved one's addiction. They simply might not see that they have choices. They might even think they are actually helping by offering help to a loved one who appears to be in need.
How Can You Can Stop Being an Enabler?
Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid enabling your loved ones. One way to do this is to seek support. Peer support groups, like those offered at Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, provide a lot of helpful resources that help you avoid enabling behaviors.
Your next step is to set emotional boundaries. You can have expectations, and it is a good idea to express them directly to your loved one. Be honest and genuine in your delivery, and be as realistic as possible. Don't attack others, but rather keep the discussion to your personal feelings and expectations.
Next, it is imperative that you stop making excuses. Don't cover up behaviors associated with addiction, as this prevents somebody from seeing the consequences of their behavior.
Finally, you might consider setting up an intervention that encourages your loved one to seek treatment. Addiction treatment is highly effective for many people, and it will help you stop your enabling behaviors. Recommend a treatment center like Better Tomorrow Treatment Center where your loved one can get the help they need.