When you know that a loved one has an addiction, at times you want to help them because you are worried and concerned about them. Even though your intentions might be good there are many situations where you might be enabling an addict without realizing it.
If your loved one is dealing with an addiction and you truly want them to quit then you need to take steps to avoid enabling them at all costs. Addicts need to experience the consequences of their actions without any help and understand through their loved ones that what they are doing is unacceptable.
When you know someone who is addicted it is a good idea to educate yourself on what constitutes enabling and find ways to avoid anything that would support the addict or allow them to continue their behavior.
Lending Money is a Form of Enabling
It may be difficult at first to say no to someone who is struggling with their addiction or to let them fail because you want to be there for them. However, you need to understand that the best thing you can do is let them reach a point where they realize that their behavior has too many negative consequences to continue.
If you lend money to your loved one when they are hurting financially then this is a form of enabling them. You will have to stop giving them any financial handouts because they will use this money to purchase drugs or alcohol and their situation will only get worse.
You should never pay their bills or give them rent money because these things are there responsibility. If they don't experience the hardship of the financial situation caused by their addiction then they will never feel how necessary it is to quit.
Letting Addicts Experience the Consequences
Another common way to enable someone in their addiction is to lie for them, cover up or make excuses for their behavior. Even though you feel you are protecting them from the judgment of others you are really giving them another chance to get off the hook for their actions.
You don't need to tell everyone about what is going on but if someone asks you directly then the best option is to be truthful about the situation. You shouldn't have to make excuses or apologize for them when they make a mistake that negatively affects other people.
They need to be responsible for their behavior and own up to whatever they have done. Admitting the truth can be hard for an addict to do but the less people they have covering up for them, the more likely they will be to truly experience the consequences of their actions.
One of the most important ways to avoid enabling an addict is to make your stance clear by not engaging in any kind of substance abuse with them even on a smaller scale. Let them know that you do not support their choices by not going to the bar or parties with them and never drinking or using drugs with them.
Even though you might have more control over your drinking, engaging in that behavior with them makes the addict think it is okay and you have no issue with it. You don't need to confrontational or aggressive about telling them to quit but you need to step away and be clear about how you feel about their addiction.
Enabling can happen in many different subtle ways and it is important for loved ones to be more aware of how their own actions influence the behavior of an addict. Even though you might feel the need to rescue them out of love, enabling is only going to make the problem worse in the end.