Are You Helping an Addict or Not? Recognizing Enabling Behavior

Enabling behavior never helps an addict. This is because it shields the addict from the full impact and natural consequences of their behavior and actions. Enabling is very different from supporting or helping the addict, because on the contrary, enabling behavior further draws the addict deep into the addiction.

recognizing enabling behavior

According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Enabling behavior consist of behaviors “that support our addicted loved one’s chemical use.” And many people who care for an addicted person can fall into this enabling trap. However, as we want to emphasize here at Bridges of Hope, you can never help an addict get better and overcome their addiction by enabling them.

How to Recognize Enabling Behavior

Enabling behavior is harmful not just in active addiction but also in recovery. By recognizing any behavior that enables your loved ones’ drug addiction, you can put a stop to it and therefore pave the way for your loved one’s change for the better.

By putting a stop to enabling, you don’t encourage the addict’s addiction and irresponsible behavior and this can push them to make a change or stay sober.

Enabling Behaviors: A Rundown

Enabling doesn’t only harm the addict, it also causes harm to you. It can make you burn out, get depressed, feel hopeless, and go through an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Here are some samples of enabling behavior that you should watch out for:

1. Denial. It can be hard to accept that your loved one has a substance abuse problem. This is why you may just ignore or brush off the issue altogether.

2. Justification. You justify their substance abuse on yourself and on others. You may say that your loved one has a stressful day, a difficult life, has a problem at work, and all other excuses.

3. Blame-tossing. You blame the addict and constantly criticize them. This just pushes them away instead of coming to you for help.

4. Feeling of superiority. You think you’re better than the addict, preaching to them while the addict, who is already struggling with substance abuse and trying to be sober, may continue to have low self-esteem. They may also feel resentful towards you.

5. Protecting the addict. You defend them from others’ concern and judgment. You may lie for them, take over responsibilities for them, and bail them out of trouble.

6. Using with the addict. This is one of the most serious enabling behavior because you not only tolerate the addiction, but also take part in it, making the addict believe that what they’re doing is right, common, and even fun as it helps you bond in your relationship–which is in reality far from the truth.

7. Controlling the addict. You can’t control anyone, not even an addict who has no control over their own actions and decisions. This can only leave you drained, disappointed, and desperate.

Stop Enabling and Get Help

If you recognize that you are exhibiting signs of enabling behaviors as shown above, then you may want to consider getting help from your addicted loved one before they sink further into addiction. Call or text us at Bridges of Hope: +639175098826.

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