Do you know if you need to stop enabling behavior if you have an addicted loved one? Addiction is a complex interaction of physical, psychological and behavioral factors. One of the traits of addicts is their ability to draw the people around them into helping to support their addiction in various ways. This action is called enabling, and it helps to keep the cycle of addiction going. The addict’s friends and family must learn to stop the process of helping them continue to abuse substances. This process often takes a great deal of self-analysis and re-programming of behavior.
Why You Should Stop Enabling Behavior and Codependency
It often involves care-taking in order to maintain control over an out-of-control situation. Enabling most frequently occurs with younger teens, which comprised 52 percent of the new illicit drug users in 2012.
Types of Enabling Behavior
Enabling can take a number of different forms. If you see yourself in any of these behaviors, it may be time to review your interactions with your substance-abusing loved one:
- Providing money for the addict
- Lying to employers or others to cover up the addict’s absenteeism
- Repairing damage to property done by the addict
- Excusing the addict’s behavior
- Covering up the addict’s behavior
- Fulfilling commitments made by the addict
- Screening phone calls for the addict
- Bailing the addict out of jail
- Patching up relationships the addict has broken
Short-Term Pain With Long-Term Gain
Stopping the enabling behavior that contributes to the abuse of substances can be painful. It is only when a person stops enabling that they see how low the alcohol or drugs have brought their loved one. With their continued support of the substance abuse, the addiction continues on and on, often to the point of overdose and death. Without the enabling, the addict is forced to deal with the consequences of the addiction, and this can often drive them to get help for their problem.
Practical Ways to Stop Enabling
Although learning to refrain from helping the addict in covering their tracks and avoiding the consequences of their behavior can be a difficult process, you can make daily progress when withdrawing your support of the addiction by doing the following:
- Don’t clean up vomit or other messes made by the addict.
- Refrain from giving the addict any money.
- Do not help the addict to bed when they have passed out somewhere.
- Stop making excuses for the addict’s behavior.
- Stop hiding the cause of the behavior from family, friends, and others.
- Allow the addict to get fired, lose a driver’s license, get thrown out of school.
- Do not take on driving tasks for the addict.
- Do not bail the abuser out of jail or pay for court costs.
- Join a support group to help you change your behavior.
Learning new methods of helping and trying to stop enabling behavior can be for individuals close to an addict.