Enable Addiction Vs Help: What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wanted to help your loved one but you weren’t sure how to do it? It’s tough. While no one wants to see their loved one suffer, it kills you to know that you’re encouraging their addiction. And the worst part is, the more they ask for help, the more you’re enabling them. In some cases, you might even try to stop your life to help them. But, no matter how many times you lend a hand, your loved one can never get on their feet. So, how do you draw the line between helping and enabling your loved ones? How do you take the stress off your shoulders and give someone back their power without being an enabler?

Enable Addiction Vs Help: What's The Difference? 1

It’s tough, but it can be done. Give yourself a few seconds to learn about the key differences between helping and enabling someone struggling with addiction. Once you’re done we will show you how to help people regain their strength and stand on their own.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

What Does It Mean To Enable Someone?

Before we show you the difference between helping and enabling someone, we think it is important for you to know what it means to enable someone struggling with an addiction.
Enabling means that someone else will always fix, solve, or make the consequences go away when someone else is struggling with an addiction or a dysfunction. As a result, enabling leads to people relying on the resources available instead of themselves.

How Do You Know Whether You’re Helping Or Enabling Someone’s Addiction

  • Making excuses for someone’s addiction
    If you’re making excuses for your loved one’s addiction to alcohol or drugs, you’re providing your loved the one with an escape from the consequences of their actions. In addition, you are creating the belief that their addiction is not a problem. As a result, you are enabling your loved one to continue to use and abuse alcohol and drugs. Considering the severity of your actions, you must admit that your family member has an addiction in order for them to realize that they have a problem with drugs and alcohol.
  • Offering money for someone’s addiction
    It’s often believed that money is the answer to everything. But, when it comes to alcohol or drug addiction, enabling someone with money only makes things worst. Granted you might not be paying for their addiction directly, but you are subtly enabling someone’s substance abuse problem. For instance, you might find yourself paying your loved one’s bills, buying their children food, or loaning them money for transportation, or even worst, you might be a contributing factor to their next high. In the end, once you enable someone with money, you’re only making it easier for an addict to dismiss their financial responsibilities.
    If you really want to help someone with their addiction, you should consider offering to pay for their drug and alcohol rehab treatment instead.
  • Taking over someone else’s responsibilities

If you have a loved one that is out of control, you may find yourself taking over their responsibilities because you love them. In spite of the fact that you are trying to help, you are enabling an addicts drug and alcohol addiction. As a result, you may be doing more damage to yourself than you can imagine, which may lead to high levels of stress, feeling exhausted, and overwhelmed. Therefore, it is important for you to empower your loved ones instead of enabling them.

  • Covering up for your loved ones 
    One of the biggest differences between helping someone and enabling them is how you decide to hold them accountable for their actions. If you’re the kind of friend or family member who believes in lying about someone’s mistakes and wrongdoings, you are only enabling someone to keep drinking or doing drugs. However, you respectfully confront your loved ones about their actions you’re helping them get over their addiction.
  • Codependent Behavior
    Another important thing that you should know about being an enabler is that you run the risk of being co-dependent. Which means, your satisfaction depends on your loved one’s dysfunctional behavior. In other words, an enabler thrives off someone else’s problems. However, an enabler might not be able to recognize their need for their loved one to have a dysfunction.
  • Putting your loved one’s needs before yours
    If you’re the kind of person to who puts others needs before your own, you might be enabling someone instead of helping them. Even worst, you might be doing more damage to yourself that you would expect.

Let’s be honest. At the end of the day, there’s nothing worse than watching our loved ones suffer from an addiction. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are providing a positive environment for them to recover. Which means, you should always work to help your loved ones, not enable them. With all of that being said, if you’re still not sure if you’re enabling your loved one or not, give us a call. We can help you provide a positive conducive environment for your loved ones. Contact us today at (855) 448-3588.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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