Family members usually think that they are not enabling an addicted person if they are not giving them money or helping them when it comes to troubles with the law. However, there are many other ways that you could be enabling your loved ones without meaning to.
You could actually be making their substance abuse problem much worse if you are not aware of indirect means of enabling, which is why it is crucial to understand what they are.
Let us look at some of the surprising ways that you might be acting as an enabler.
1. You lie for them
Friends and families of addicts tend to lie for the person they care about because they think that they are giving them some extra time to fix their addiction. For example, it is common for people to call in sick to work on an addict’s behalf because they believe that they should not lose their job over a mistake. Even though there are good intentions behind this behaviour, it simply enables the addict to keep using.
Instead of receiving a warning or losing their job, the addict has been excused from the normal consequences of their behaviour, which prolongs the addiction and postpones the recovery process. You have to allow the addict to realise the impact of their addiction and allow them to deal with the consequences.
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2. You make excuses for their behaviour
Making excuses for an addict’s behaviour is one of the most common mistakes that loved ones make. It can also be quite difficult to stop enabling because many people are not aware that they are even doing it. The causes and symptoms of addiction are not as clear-cut as other diseases, which can make loved one’s second-guess their feelings.
It is common for friends and family to think that an addict is ‘just going through a rough patch’ or ‘stressed out’. It is important to remember that, even though the excuses may sound reasonable, if they occur often enough or do not match their behaviour then it is likely to be untrue. You must stop making excuses for them and rely on your instincts.
3. You do not discuss their addiction
It can be difficult to talk to an addict about their addiction. People who abuse substances tend to be in denial about their addiction, which makes them respond defensively if they are confronted. However, they will only continue to use substances if you avoid discussions about their addiction. The addiction will not improve unless people and situations get in the way. The best thing that you can do if you care about an addict is to be brave and speak about your concerns, regardless of how painful or hard it might be to talk about.
4. You take on their responsibilities
Family members and loved ones often try to help an addict by making sure that they see to their responsibilities, such as getting to work on time, paying bills or even eating meals. However, if you find yourself taking on responsibilities that any sensible adult should be able to do on their own, you are actually enabling instead of helping.
It does not matter if the addict is your child, your spouse or an adult, you should not have to act like the responsible adult for any addict. An addict has to take control of their life and the responsibilities that come with it in order to stand a chance of recovery. If they need someone to manage their life because of their addiction, they do not need you to look after them, they need professional help.
5. You believe that they will get better on their own
Most diseases do not go away without appropriate treatment, and addiction is no different. As a matter of fact, addiction tends to worsen if it is not addressed and stopped. Even though it can be difficult to stage an intervention or force a person to go an alcohol or drug rehab centre, you are only making things worse by believing that the problem will go away on its own.
6. You like feeling needed
Even though it can be hard to think about, many people find that they get some pleasure from taking care of their loved one. In a healthy relationship, feeling valued and needed is great. However, it can become unhealthy when you start enjoying feeling needed so much that you do not see the problems in the relationship.
This could be a sign that you have an issue known as co-dependency, which describes putting another person’s needs before your own. Take some time to really think about the way that you have been acting towards your loved one and how your behaviour affects your life, and theirs. You have to ask yourself if you really are being loving and kind by doing things that a reasonable adult should be able to do on their own or if you are contributing to their condition.
Contact The Dawn Rehab Thailand
Recognising the signs and symptoms of enabling behaviours is an important step for both you and the addict. The best way that you can help them get better is to encourage them to seek professional treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, past trauma, or mental health issues, we at The Dawn can help.
The Dawn is a reputable drug and alcohol rehab in Chiang Mai, Thailand that offers highly-personalised and intensive treatment at an affordable cost. Contact The Dawn today or call +66 63 048 4877 to receive a no obligation assessment and learn more about our addiction treatment programmes.