How To Stop Enabling An Addict

When you have a loved one in your family that abuses alcohol or drugs, it can be challenging to face the reality that your loved one is suffering from a disease. You still want to trust and believe in them, no matter what. However, showing love and support for your addicted loved one can lead to enabling their addiction. When you enable your loved one, you, your family, and the addict are not getting the help they need. 

How Do Families Enable Loved Ones With Substance Abuse Problems?

When family members enable a loved one with a substance abuse disorder, they essentially support the addiction. There are various ways in which family members can enable the addict, including:

  • Attempting to cover up the addiction by downplaying the seriousness of the disease.
  • Taking over responsibilities for the addict that they would be able to themselves if they were sober. 
  • Making excuses for the addict when they do not follow through on commitments and promises.
  • Supplying the loved one with money to help support their addiction. 
  • Drinking or drug use with the addict. 

The problem with enabling behavior is there are no consequences for the addicted person. The family has made it much easier for them to continue to abuse alcohol or drugs. As a result, the addict has no motivation to want to change or attempt to get help for the addiction. 

Fortunately, families can learn how to stop the enabling by using the following tips. 

How to Stop Enabling a Loved One

Tip #1: Learn more about substance abuse disorders.

Most families do not understand how serious addiction can be and the impacts it has on the family. By taking time to educate yourself about addiction, you can gain better insight into the struggle your loved one is facing.

There are plenty of viable resources available to help you learn more about addiction. Many sober living homes host support groups for family members of addicts. They can also provide other valuable resources, like literature, research studies, and so on. 

Tip #2: Avoid being alone with the addict.

It is better when there are at least two family members present when the addict is present. One family member might give in easier than the other. By working together, both family members can help each other avoid enabling behaviors and being manipulated by the addict. 

Tip #3: Seek peer support from other families.

Learning how other families are dealing with a loved one’s addiction can be eye-opening and provide valuable insight. You can just listen if that is all you want to do. Seeing how other families are coping can provide the strength you need to avoid enabling. 

Tip #4: Do not provide alcohol or drugs for the addict.

It might seem obvious, yet you would be surprised that some families fall into the bad habit of supporting the addict. They might supply cash or give them alcohol or drugs, which further enables the addiction.  

Tip #5: Avoid giving the addict money.

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, giving them money can be risky. Sometimes, addicts will ask for money to help pay a bill or get groceries, then use the cash to buy drugs or alcohol. If your son asks for help paying for bills that they may have on their own, such as a cell phone or car insurance bill, offer to pay the bill directly rather than giving them the cash.

Tip #6: Let the addict experience the consequences of their actions.

Covering up the addiction and making excuses for the addict are two destructive enabling behaviors. When you stop hiding the addiction, the addict will have to face the consequences of their addiction. 

For example, an addicted person cannot get up to go to work. Or, they are arrested for drunk driving.  Your best course of action is to do nothing – don’t call them in “sick” or bail them out of jail. Let your loved one deal with the consequences of their addiction. 

Tip #7: Talk openly about addiction and how it is affecting the family.

Making your loved one aware of how their addiction is affecting the family helps you avoid enabling behaviors. When you speak to them, make sure they are sober. Let them know they are loved, but the family will not support their addiction in any manner. You can always involve a neutral third party in a family therapy session to mediate the conversation.

Tip #8: Encourage them to get help for their addiction.

Once your loved one realizes the family is not going to enable their addiction, you can start to encourage them to get help. It is crucial to remember only to suggest they get help. Never make rehab treatment facilities an ultimatum. Only when the addict is ready to get help will they be more likely to overcome their addiction. 

Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles

New Life House can help families learn how to stop enabling a drug addict and provide the addiction treatment their loved ones need at one of our sober living facilities in Los Angeles. We offer a sober living environment for young men, free from distractions to help your loved one focus on their addiction and mental health recovery with other young men their own age. 

Together, we can help your family achieve long-lasting success in recovery. To find out more, please feel free to contact us today.

Last Updated on November 17, 2022


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