When a loved one is dealing with an addiction, it’s perfectly natural to want to help them through it. However, we need to be careful regarding how this help looks like.
Because sometimes, even with good intentions, that help could end up enabling the addiction. Here are 5 common behaviors that could enable their addiction and prolong their dependency on drugs or alcohol:
1.Pretending There Isn’t a Problem
Even if you don’t personally condone using drugs or drinking, you may still ignore your loved one’s addiction for several reasons.
This avoidance can take on many different shapes:
- Not talking about the addiction, either to your loved one or other people
- Ignoring proof of drinking or alcohol use (such as empty bottles)
- Changing the subject if someone else brings it up, etc.
- Covering the Bills
People who struggle with drugs or alcohol abuse may have a difficult time managing their finances. It’s not uncommon for a loved one to provide money and financial assistance to help cover their bills, or even help them purchase more drugs and alcohol.
But this is also an enabling behavior. The person struggling doesn’t have to come to terms with the financial consequences of their behavior because their friends and family continuously provide this support.
3.Helping Them Cover Their Tracks
Addiction and substance abuse often take over a person’s entire life. People may inevitably get into quite tricky situations at work or even in their personal lives.
For example, a person may show up to a family event under the influence of drugs and alcohol. To avoid a ruckus, you may want to help sober them up and hide their state from other friends and family members.
This behavior is, of course, done out of love. But over time, it can enable addiction, as the person will never really face the consequences of their drinking or drug use.
4.Justifying the Addiction
There are various reasons why a person may abuse drugs or alcohol. But whatever those reasons, it’s important to remember that they can never justify remaining addicted.
People who constantly explain away a loved one’s addiction often do more harm than good in the long run.
5.Not Respecting Your Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a way to keep yourself safe when dealing with a loved one who’s dealing with an addiction. But failing to hold up those boundaries is a common enabling behavior most people do.
Your boundaries are there to serve both you and your loved one. If you don’t hold them up, the addictive behavior can be allowed to continue endlessly.
The road to recovery is long and difficult, and everyone has a much better chance of overcoming their addiction with the support of friends and family.