Being part of a family means surrounding yourself with people who love you. A family is willing to help you shoulder any burdens with which you may be struggling. Of course, it’s natural for family members to support, protect, and insulate one another. However, when a loved one has an addiction, that love, support, and protection can sometimes transform into enabling an addict. Despite the family’s intentions, enabling an addict may make their problem easier to maintain. If someone you love is struggling with an addiction, and you fear you may be an enabler, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. You can discuss with a trained addiction counselor how you and your family can break the enabling cycle.
What Does Enabling Mean?
Family members are expected to help one another through difficult times, but to enable an addict is something entirely different. In a healthy relationship, for example, one partner might offer to take over all the laundry or cleaning duties during a week in which the other partner is exceptionally busy at work. They do this to take some of the pressure off of an already stressed loved one. In an enabling relationship, one partner may take over the laundry duties out of necessity. They clean the soiled clothes belonging to the other partner. In this case, the one partner may be worried that the other can’t handle the chore alone. They feel that they must shoulder the task to ensure that the laundry is clean.
How to Stop Enabling an Addict
When enabling an addict, the loved ones become efficient at taking over their chores and tasks. They are primarily covering for the addict making his life easier. Therefore, because there are no negative consequences, the user finds it simpler to maintain his addiction. Enabling is a habit, a harmful and destructive one, and like any habit, you can break it. Following are some steps families can take to break the cycle of enabling:
⦁ Get help from a peer support group. It can help a great deal to surround yourself with other people who know about the challenges addicts and their loved ones face. Even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your own story, it can be helpful to listen and see that you aren’t alone.
⦁ Have an open and honest conversation with the addict. The best way to make meaningful changes in an enabling relationship is to be open and honest with the user. Point out specific behaviors you would like to modify and share the reasons these changes need to take place.
⦁ Stop making excuses to cover up the addict’s behavior. If you want to stop enabling an addict, it’s imperative that you make sure the user sees the consequences of his addiction. Stop covering for him at work and home, and force him to face the impact on his own.
⦁ Work with a counselor. Often, family members focus so much on taking care of the addict, that they fail to recognize the adverse effects the addiction has on their health. It’s not unusual for an addict’s loved ones to develop headaches, backaches, depression, anxiety or digestive problems due to stress. Talking to a counselor can help family members work through the emotional and physical issues the addiction is causing.
BRS Rehab Can Help
It is entirely natural to want to help a loved one who is struggling, so they aren’t dealing with their addiction alone. However, being an enabler is a surefire way to ensure that an addict continues down the same path of destructive substance abuse. If a member of your family is abusing drugs or alcohol, and you want to know how you can avoid being an enabler, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to find out more about how to stop enabling an addict.