Addiction is a dangerous disease that can ruin lives and tear families apart. In the United States, one in four adults are currently struggling with addiction. However, addiction impacts more than just the user. When friends and families engage in enabling behaviors, the addiction can cause codependent relationships and miserable lives for everyone involved. In order to be able to stop enabling the addict, you need to understand what enabling is and why people begin enabling.
Why We Enable Addicted Loved Ones
In most cases, people start enabling the addict because they love them. When you love someone, you tend to want to keep them from suffering and save them from any consequences their actions may cause. In fact, you are playing a major part in the addiction. You may just be trying to help but, by enabling, you are greatly hindering the addict’s recovery and realization of the reality of addiction.
Some of the simple signs of enabling are easier to see. Enablers find it difficult or impossible to leave the addict alone because of the need to control the situation. The enabler must make sure the addict is not making bad decisions, but they are effectively taking away any reason for the addict to want to make the right decisions. In addition, enablers may accept and/or believe the lies that the addict tells them. They are blind to the truth because of their love and need to care for the addict. On the other hand, enablers may also imagine the addict dying or becoming severely injured, all while feeling guilty because of those thoughts. Enablers feel like everything depends on them and can often be tired, restless, and worrisome. In short, enablers take on the responsibility the addict should be holding, whether the problems are financial, social, medical, or other.
Stop Enabling Now
The best way to avoid enabling is by treating the addict with dignity and respect. Although it may be difficult, this is one of the things they need in order to realize they have to change. You should learn more about the disease and encourage good behaviors, but you do not have to be constantly watching to make sure they make the right choices. Allow the addict to take responsibility because, even though you care about them, they have to face the consequences of their actions. If they start to feel the pain and seriousness of addiction, they may begin to try and seek help for their disease. Above all, be clear and kind. By yelling, chastising, blaming, or shaming them, you are not going to get the result you desire. Guilt and shame often plague addicts and can be triggers. Addicts can be harder on themselves than anyone around them.
You have to take care of yourself first and foremost. It is not selfish to put focus on your own physical and emotional needs. By taking care of your health, you are setting a positive example for everyone around you, including the addict. Support groups can be helpful, and they can guide you to make healthy changes to the family dynamic.
Hired Power can help you decide upon a recovery plan and guide you through the changes to make to your lifestyle. By providing healthy options and caring staff, Hired Power is leading the way in addiction recovery.
Call 800-910-9299 for more information on how you can begin recovery.