Are you enabling a loved one with addiction? Here’s what you should know to shake you out of this enabling pattern and ultimately provide the help they badly need.
Loving someone with a substance use disorder is different. A whole lot different. They, the so-called addicted individuals, are incapable of reciprocating that love. This is because their lives are mainly driven by a force greater than love, actually: a force called addiction. But that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They do. They just can’t choose you over their addiction. In return, you find yourself with enabling behaviors that will do them more harm than good.
Before you consider enabling as something appropriate, think about this: the addict’s emotions and behavior patterns have been hijacked. Their main motivation now revolves around getting to that state that only drugs or alcohol can bring them. And they would do anything, even if it means taking advantage of the people that love them.
Take this for example. Your loved one may approach you for grocery money, saying they haven’t been eating right for a while. So you take a little bit of pity (if not a lot) and give them money. But then you’ll find out they just spent it on drugs or alcohol.
You know who’s to blame for this? You.
This is because you should take them to the store, have them get what they need, and pay for it yourself. This is far from the earlier scenario, where you are actually enabling the addict.
Handing out cash to the addict is directly helping them, supporting their addiction. You can help your loved one for the better by changing the way you deal with them–by avoiding enabling behaviors. You have to be tough while still being supportive of their well-being and possible recovery.
Dealing with an addict is very difficult. It can even be overwhelming and frustrating at times. However, you have to learn hard truths about dealing with an addict, giving them tough love, doing things that are not easy to do. This is because what you’ll learn about dealing with an addict actually goes against what you know are were taught about loving another person.
In fact, you can even tell your loved one to go away, send them out, and for others who are looking in, this can be a horrible thing to do. But it could save their lives. More often than not, addicts just need to feel cornered or even reach their rock bottom, before they see that they have a problem and needs help. Once this happens, you have to be there to give them support and provide them choices so that they can be rehabilitated.
All this may be harsh, but that’s the reality of addiction.