In many past posts, we have written about how to draw the line between enabling and empowering and how families can help their loved ones who are in recovery. Addiction and recovery can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and judgment calls, a tug-of-war between helping and hurting.
At times, you may feel that loving and caring for someone with alcohol or substance addiction can be expressed by allowing them to do what they want, looking away when they do something wrong, and even cleaning up their messes. However, enabling the addict like this may ultimately lead your loved one even further downward and even to death.
The Meaning of Helping in Addiction
It has always been common, even natural, for people to help other people who are in need. When it comes to addiction, though, ‘helping’ takes on a whole new meaning and dynamics.
Whether you are spurred by your love, guilt, anger, fear or any other emotion, helping an addict does not mean that you should enable them and make their life of compulsion easy for them.
Helping is when you are doing something for the addict that they can’t do for themselves. Enabling is when you are removing the natural consequences of their actions.
Enabling is Deadly
Many experts who deal with addiction and rehabilitation believe that enabling is deadly. Many serious health problems, accidents, crimes, and family problems arise from drugs and alcohol addictions.
Addiction can also ruin careers, cause financial breakdown, break families, damage social relationships, and even deteriorate mental and physical health.
So when you enable addicts, you are not only tolerating their addictions, you are feeding them. Perpetuating the addiction, which will never bring anything good for that person. The more they use, the stronger the addiction would be, and the easier for them to keep trodding down the road of destruction. And the harder it is for them to change get rid of the addiction.
It’s like saying, “Okay, keep using. I’m here for you so you don’t have to deal with the consequences of what you’re doing.”
And this is a very dangerous thing because you are being part of the problem. It’s like handing a suicidal person the gun and telling him that you are there to clean up the mess as they pull the trigger.
You Are Not Alone
You may have reasons why you do what you do, and often, you may feel like you have no choice. Or that you are doing all that you do because you love and care for the addict.
You are not alone.
This blog aims to serve as a venue for discussion and if you feel like you have something to say and share, don’t hesitate. You also need a support system to help you through these tough times. You need help when it comes to knowing when to really help and when to pull in the reins.
Our lines are also open. We’re here to help. Call or text: