15 Questions Parents of Addicts Need to Answer – Enabling Vs. Loving
Enabling someone you love who suffers addiction and is actively using can seem like love. In desperation, you want to help your child, spouse or even a friend who is quickly disintegrating before your eyes. It’s human nature to want to nurture and take care of someone who is sick, especially somebody you love. But when it comes to the disease of addiction, the rules quickly change. So what is enabling and how does it differ from love?
Addiction isn’t your ordinary disease. Protecting or caring for a loved one and helping them from the pits of rock bottom seems logical, but what if in doing so, you only further progress their disease and assist them by making it easier to obtain and use heroin or other drugs? If you have a loved one who is actively using drugs and suffers from the disease of addiction, enabling does exactly that. Below are 13 common frequently asked questions that parents, spouses, friends and family members must ask and get answers to in order to adequately help someone suffering from drug addiction.
15 Questions Parents, Spouses, Friends and Family of Addicts Must Answer:
1. Is it harmless to pay your loved ones bills if they are addicted?
2. Is it harmless to clean their house or take care of normal things they should be doing themselves?
3. Is it harmless to bail them out of jail?
4. Is it harmless to cover up their addiction in front of other people to protect their secrets?
5. Is it harmless to give them money?
6. Is it harmless to even buy them groceries in some cases?
7. Is it harmless to take out loans to cover their expenses?
8. Is it harmless to give them rides to a “friends” house?
9. Is it harmless to let them live on your couch?
10. Is it harmless to buy them their next drink or drug?
11. Is it harmless to drink or get high with them?
12. Is it harmless to avoid addressing their addiction in fear of confrontation?
13. Is it harmless to put their needs before your own?
14. Is it harmless to blame other people for their addiction?
15. Is it harmless to suppress your own emotions in fear of a negative reaction from an addict?
The answer is no to all of these questions. It is anything but harmless and doing any of the above could potentially enable an addict to continue actively using drugs.
If you’ve identified with any of these questions and find yourself doing any of the things described above, you may be enabling an addict. It’s often very hard at first to recognize your own enabling behavior.
Drug addiction sucks those who love an addict into an emotional and spiritual rollercoaster with no instructions or guidelines on how to handle it.
Are Enablers Bad People?
Are you a bad person for enabling? Of course not. The intention of those typically enabling is to help an addict. Besides, it’s natural to want to help. Unfortunately a relationship with an addict will always be one-sided and almost always sacrifice for the person who loves an addict.
Recognizing and Eliminating Enabling Behaviors
The most important thing a parent, spouse, family member and/or friend can do is recognize their enabling behav’iors and stop enabling. It can be a difficult transition because the addict is used to the help and sacrifice on the enablers behalf.
Many times the addict will try to guilt or shame the former-enabler into giving them what they want. These are the times to be ultra-aware of manipulative behaviors. This includes crying, begging, lying, grandiose stories and guilting.
An enabler must be 100% aware of why they are choosing to stop enabling. In order to quit, an enabler has to realize that by quitting enabling, they have become a crucial step in an addict choosing to get clean. Eliminating enabling behavior can save that addict’s life. Though the addict will try to convince the enabler that it only harms them, the evidence is overwhelmingly quite to the contrary.
Until an addict loses all enablers in their life, they will never fully feel the effects and consequences of their addiction and the desperation it causes. If their bills are being paid, they can spend their money on drugs. If they have a couch to crash on, there is no need to find a place of their own and pay rent. If their laundry and dishes are being done, there is no need to be responsible for their own messes. If they are being bailed out of jail, there is no time to process the consequences of their addiction. If no one else knows about thier addiction, there is no need to confront it. If they are being given money, there is no need for a job. If their drugs or drinks are being bought for them or you are doing drugs with them, you are accepting their ongoing addiction and drug seeking behaviors. If they are never confronted, they will likley feel it’s okay to continue doing what they’re doing.
Addicts Need Consequences and Desperation to Promote Desire to Change
Many addicts in recovery find that until they were given the Gift Of Desperation or G.O.D., they would have never wanted or chose to get clean. Enabling only prevents an addict from being given that gift.
If you are enabling an addict, reach out for support from other ex-enablers in your area either by going to a meeting or getting involved in the recovery community. You are not alone. You can save an addict’s life by discontinuing to enable them.
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