The Fine line between Helping and Enabling

The Fine line between Helping and Enabling during Drug Abuse Treatment

If you have ever been close to a drug addict or alcoholic, you know that there is a fine line between helping and enabling. It is hard to make decisions that could affect your loved one’s well-being if you don’t actively step in to help. On the other hand, helping can mean buying out the consequences of an addict’s negative behaviors toward them. Providing the correct kind of support to an addict during drug abuse treatment can help in the long run, yet enabling can be harmful to both parties.

The Right Kind of Support

Drug and alcohol addicts need support during recovery from the relationships that surround them. The problem is that sometimes a loved one goes as far as helping an addict steer from the consequences of their behaviors. This makes an addict continue taking part in harmful behaviors without fearing the consequences. Without consequences, the addict learns nothing from their mistakes. There are a few ways that you can help your loved one without enabling throughout drug abuse treatment.

Listening: Lending an ear to your loved one that is afflicted with addiction does not take negative reinforcement of behavior away from an addict. It shows your loved one empathy and reminds them that you care without crossing any boundaries.

Presence: Being a shoulder to cry on or a comforting presence helps a recovering addict without enabling them to do the wrong thing. An example may include attending an AA meeting with your loved one when they are nervous about going alone.

Inform: Providing helpful information to an addict may give them the help that they did not even know that they needed. Finding helpful solutions provides support without giving an addict the option to use or drink through enabling.

The Wrong Kind of Support

If you are close to an addict in drug abuse treatment, chances are they have already asked things of you. It is important to set boundaries in these relationships because if you help too much it could lead to relapse. Enabling occurs when an addict receives help with something that could cause them to hit rock bottom. It is imperative to understand that your addicted loved one is the only one that can choose sobriety for their life. Nothing you say or do will help until the addict decides to help their own life. Addicts often do not seek help until they see no other option, so it is vital to let them hit rock bottom on their own.

Ending the Enabling Cycle

It is hard to tell whether you are providing the proper support or enabling the addict in your life. A general rule to remember is if your help gives an addict means to use or drink, it is considered enabling. Set your boundaries firmly, but gently and without judgment. If an addict tries to make you feel guilty for not helping, remind them that you will not enable their harmful behaviors because you love them. If you think that you may be enabling your drug addicted or alcoholic loved one, you can call The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center anytime at 1-888-738-0692 for a confidential conversation.