People who struggle with addiction, whether it be with drugs or alcohol, need to have the loving support of family and friends behind them on their road to recovery. For those friends and family, though, it can sometimes be a tricky business of being supportive wihtout enabling them. The act of enabling is any action that gives someone the means or opportunity to do something.
Ten Tips to Avoid Enabling:
- Don’t give money
It seems simple, but the act of handing a using individual money is not wise. You can’t be sure your money isn’t being used to further their descent into addiction.
- Don’t pay bills
Maybe it seems harsh, but your loved one must struggle and feel the harsh consequences of their decisions.
- Don’t pay loans
Someone overcoming addiction has likely asked friends and family for money. It is important to refrain from forgiving or paying off those debts and allow them to feel the weight of their choices.
- Don’t lie
As ashamed or embarrassed you might feel, covering up the truth does not help you or your loved ones. Being discreet about the situation is fine, but be honest and allow others to care for you.
- Don’t make excuses
Putting your own life on hold to care for your loved one is not healthy for you. When you allow them to alter your personal life work or even social engagements, you are helping them continue their fantasy life.
- Don’t baby them
The responsibilities of being an adult should be continually put on their own shoulders. If you offer to care for them, they will continue to let you without growing or feeling as though they should.
- Don’t join them
Refuse to be pulled into their activities, whether it be gambling or drinking socially. Even if you don’t have a problem with it, support the person you love by refusing to condone their addictive behavior.
- Don’t give gifts
So many things can be used for quick cash. Even something that is inexpensive can be used for trading. Don’t make it easy for your loved one to continue their habits.
- Don’t make threats
Even a child knows a useless threat when they hear one. When you make a standard or set a boundary, stick to it.
- Don’t try to rescue
It is difficult to see someone you love hurting themselves through harmful choices, but it is important to understand that you are not capable of saving them. They have to want to save themselves from their situation.
In these relationships, it is difficult to find ways to show love and care; but remembering that you are always a support for their good decisions will keep you on the beneficial side rather than the enabling side.
Intentions usually come from a good and honest place in the heart, but continue to alter your own behaviors to try and prevent enabling your loved one and gently encourage them toward a treatment program and slowly traverse the road of recovery.
Don’t give up. It’s not over, yet. Continue to love them and support them in the good decisions they make and allow them to work at becoming responsible for their own lives by making a series of positive choices. It is far more powerful in that way.