An addict has no reason to change his or her destructive ways if they never have to suffer the consequences of their own behavior. By enabling an addict, you are not only allowing them to further practice their addiction, but you are holding them back from getting the help that they need. Enabling is not helping and it is not a way of showing someone love. You are simply allowing the addict to live irresponsibly because they depend on you to take care of them and get them out of tough situations.
Don’t Blame Love
When you truly love someone, you want what is best for them. It takes time and dedication to break away from a codependent relationship, whether it be with a significant other, a family member or a close friend. It is especially difficult when you know that the person you are trying to separate from has an addiction and you are the person who has been watching out for them and trying to keep them safe.
By holding the hand of an addict, you are only helping them to progress even further into self destructive behaviors. It is crucial that you detach yourself from the addict, leaving him or her vulnerable and on their own to deal with the consequences of their decisions. Fight through the difficult times by realizing that this is what is best for them and if they ever find wellness and recovery, they will appreciate you for letting them go.
Enabling Hurts You
By enabling an addict, you are not only hurting them but you are hurting yourself. Caring for an addict can control your life in a physical sense, and can cause severe emotional damage and trauma to those around who love, care for, and worry about them twenty four hours a day. You can easily justify all of the reasons why you are helping an addict. ( You love them, you don’t want them to loose their job, you would never let them live on the streets, you need to protect them….) But in the end, you will be the one who has to live with the stress and guilt of knowing that you helped the addict to use again.
Stop Lending Money
Addicts are professional swindlers. When they need money to get their fix, they will come up with any story they can and make you believe it. If an addict tells you that they need milk or groceries, offer to purchase them for him or her. If an addict tells you that they need gas money right away or else they won’t be able to get to work, offer to go with them to the gas station or offer them a ride.
You can still be reasonable without handing out your money and chances are, they will deny your alternative kind gesture because that is not what they actually intended on using the money for.
An addict will often make you feel guilty if you refuse to help them or give them money. They will say things like “You never believe me…“ “You are always accusing me…“ “You don’t trust me…“ to try and get you to buckle. Do your best not to fall for this technique. It is okay for the addict to get upset and angry with you because, even if they don’t like it, you are doing what is best for them. If you are finding it difficult to simply say no, try and find alternate turn down methods. Tell the addict that you need the money for an unexpected car repair or that you already loaned the money to someone else.
There are many ways for you to try and find help for your loved one. You can bring them to groups where they can talk to other addicts, you can read pamphlets and buy self help books, but if the addict in your life does not want the help, these methods are usually unsuccessful. These groups can often introduce the addict to other people with the same weakness and it is possible that their friendships could bring them both back to using.
Let go of the addict. Stop enabling them, stop covering for them and let them hit “Rock Bottom”. It is the only way that they will accept the help that they need into their lives. We would all love to think that there is something we can do to fix this, but the addict has to do this on their own. You can still be there to support them on their way to wellness when the time comes.