If a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, confronting your friend or family member about their addiction can be a challenging and emotional experience. At first, it may seem easier to deny that there is even a problem or to excuse your loved one’s behavior. These denials and excuses, however, will only make the problem worse. Denying or excusing a loved one’s addiction enables them to continue using drugs, which hurts themselves and others. These types of behavior are what defines an enabler.
What is an Enabler?
No one wants their loved ones to do things that hurt themselves. However, by excusing behavior or looking the other way, you can enable an addict to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. An enabler allows substance abusers to continue using drugs without suffering the negative consequences of their actions.
Accepting the truth about a loved one’s addiction can be painful and difficult. By enabling a loved one’s drug addiction, an enabler is also able to continue living as if nothing is wrong. However, this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Ultimately, enabling drug abuse only leads to bigger problems. The longer loved ones continue to abuse drugs, the more difficult it will be for them to successfully quit. Enablers allow drug abusers to continue putting themselves at risk for injury, illness, and even death.
Enablers are often in denial about a loved one’s addiction. Enablers refuse to admit or recognize the warning signs of drug abuse. Facing the truth can be painful, but it is essential that individuals admit that their loved ones are suffering from a problem. Admitting that a problem exists is the first step towards helping a loved one seek help for drug addiction.
Examples of enabling behavior include:
- Making excuses for an addict’s behavior to friends and family
- Bailing a loved one out after being arrested for drug possession, drunk driving, or breaking another law
- Telling an addict’s employer the addict is unable to come to work because of illness when in reality the addict is high or suffering from a hangover/withdrawal symptoms
- Giving or loaning an addict money
- Ignoring an addict’s destructive or inappropriate behavior
- Helping an addict purchase drugs or alcohol
- Accepting an addict’s excuses, denials, or statements that they can “quit anytime”
Breaking the Cycle: Stop Enabling
Admitting that a loved one has a problem can be a difficult and emotional experience. While in the short-term it may seem easier to ignore an addict’s behavior, in the long-term doing so puts their health and safety at risk. Addicts are experts at lying and manipulating others. Loved ones may go to extensive lengths to hide their addiction. It is human nature to believe the best in someone you love. However, as long as you continue to accept an addict’s lies as the truth, your loved one will continue to suffer.
The first step towards breaking the cycle of enabling and addiction is to accept that your loved one has a problem. Once you have accepted this, you can work with an addiction counselor or rehabilitation center to plan intervention help. Stop accepting your loved one’s lies, giving your loved one money, or making excuses for their behavior.
Staging an intervention can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Reach out to a drug counselor or addiction specialist for support. Remember, while it is important that you stop enabling your loved one’s addiction, you must also put your personal health and safety first. Many drug addicts can be erratic, irrational, and easily angered when under the influence. Staging an intervention is best done when your loved one is sober and not using; otherwise, your own personal safety may be jeopardized. If you ever feel unsafe because of a loved one’s addiction, remove yourself from the situation.
Let Us Help
You cannot force your loved one to seek treatment. However, by changing your behavior, you can stop enabling your loved one’s addiction and stage an intervention. This is the first step towards helping them live a productive, drug-free life. If your family member is out of control with any type of addiction and you want to get an intervention, contact Best Drug Rehabilitation for more information. We can answer your questions and recommend a treatment program for your loved one.