If you?re reading this article, it?s more than likely that there?s someone you care about who may be struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. No one starts off substance use with the intent of elevating the behavior to reach an addictive state; it can start innocently enough through recreational use, and become a full dependency before you know it.
Perhaps you?ve been a part of social engagements where occasional use of drugs and alcohol or binges took place with a friend or family member who is giving you cause for concern. How is it that you don?t have a problem with addiction and someone else who went through the same situation does? What can you do to help that friend… if anything?
The Treatment Center’s guide below can offer some insight on how to stop behaviors that may be enabling your friends or loved ones, and how to help them to want to change for the better and seek the help they need.
A Quick Guide to Quit Enabling Addiction
When Is It Important to Quit Enabling Addiction?
Any point during your relationship is the right time to learn how to quit enabling addiction. In relation to the person who lives with alcohol or drug abuse, your enabling of the addictive behaviors can assist in supporting the continued use of the substance. In addition, when he or she has decided to go into a treatment program and is amidst the recovery process, whether it?s one month or five years into sobriety, the risk of relapse is high ? and enabling behaviors can spur relapse.
If you genuinely care about this person, you need to understand that you play a serious role in his or her interest in receiving treatment and staying with a recovery program. Before you can understand what to do to help, keep reading to educate yourself on how enabling behaviors begin.
Enabling Addiction in Friends
Hanging out and going to a party with the friend battling addiction directly sets up an enabling situation. If there are drugs or alcohol involved and you choose to use, to your friend with the addiction problem, your actions are similar to saying, ?Sure, go ahead and use. It?s okay with me.?
Enabling Addiction at Work or School
Picking up the slack for a coworker one morning after they?ve had a ?night on the town? the day before is one thing. Doing it often is concerning. Maybe there?s someone you work with who seems to always need you or another team member to bail them out. Friends that are fighting addiction will also defer to others for help to get their school work completed or to forge notes that excuse tardiness and absences.
Be wary of someone who is a high-functioning addict. This is a person who abuses alcohol or drugs but can somehow manage to fulfill their personal or work-related obligations. Moreover, high-functioning addicts convince themselves (and try to convince others) that they have control of their substance intake. If any of this sounds familiar, take notice and keep your mental antenna up.
Enabling Addiction at Home
Living with someone in the throes of addiction or recovery puts a heightened level of pressure in the household for many reasons. If you or other family members like to drink alcohol, for example, but don?t have a dependency, the very fact that alcohol is present in the home will serve as a trigger to the one fighting addiction. With it readily available, you are essentially telling your loved one that you support their addiction, not sober living.
This Is What Enabling Addiction Feels Like
There?s a strange line between love and nurturing someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Often, the line gets blurry, crossing from right to wrong.
Over time, if you are a parent and your child is immersed in substance abuse, guilt can play a role in the dynamics of the relationship. If your brother or sister has the disease of addiction, resentment can be an everyday response to the dysfunctional family dynamic.
One moment, family and friends may exhibit the strength needed to deal with the addiction head on, suggesting treatment and recovery as an option. Without the right information and tools, facing the addiction of someone you live with is beyond uncomfortable; it can be a dangerous undertaking.
- Worried, that something bad will happen
- Sad, wanting to keep the relationship going at all costs
- Guilty, believing that in some way ?it must be my fault?
- Desperate, trying to please and maintain peace
- Ashamed, needing to hide the presence of addiction
- Fearful, wishing to avoid an argument or physical altercation
- Heroic, empowered to rescue the person from addiction
- Hopeful, assuming this will all go away on its own
For many, resorting to denial and delusion of the truth is the path of least resistance. This can be the road of choice for those with a family member, friend or coworker wrapped up in drug or alcohol addiction ? but it doesn?t have to be.
Triggers Test Sobriety and Your Relationship
Behaviors associated with enabling addiction are painful displays of what is referred to as codependency. A codependent relationship not only feeds addiction further, but in a peculiar way, it feeds the enabler as well. How?
For some, enabling the addiction of another helps them hold onto a false sense of reality, that the healthy relationship they once had is still there. For others, enabling addiction provides an opportunity to feel needed or wanted.
Even after a person seeks treatment and recovery for drug or alcohol misuse, it doesn?t mean that the risk of enabling addiction has been removed. Enabling addiction is a concern throughout recovery, for a lifetime. It?s critical to know how best to stop the damaging behavior that can trigger or support substance abuse, and move toward building healthy relationships.
Own Your Responsibility: Quit Enabling Their Addiction Now
The sooner you utilize our Quick Guide to Quit Enabling Addiction, you increase the chances of your loved one admitting there is a problem and needing to seek treatment. Note the enabling characteristics shown and see how you may currently enable addiction in someone else. Then, look for the healthy behavior options to use instead that support positivity and sobriety.
Bookmark this page, save the link or print out this information. For a quicker reference, take a copy of the infographic above and post on the refrigerator or keep one in the car, your purse and at work.