Enabling simply means “to make something possible,” and can sometimes be confused with support. Having a loved one suffer from the disease of addiction is an issue all on its own, but it can become especially exhausting when you find yourself regularly fretting over the question of whether or not you are enabling or supporting them.
Enable Vs. Support
A majority of people commonly associate the meaning of enable with the addict’s relationships with others, most particularly of which include their parents, children, siblings, or significant other. The closer the relationship is, the more difficult it can be to stray away from enabling and sometimes even notice when it’s occurring. When it comes to being aware of when you may be enabling your loved one’s addiction, you should know that what may work for some people, may not end up working for you.
Many families are trained to cut all ties when their loved one refuses help and continues on with their drug abuse. They are told to do this so that the addict will reach a bottom low enough to prompt them to seek help by choice. This can be particularly rough for parents to do this to their children, but in some cases, there are just no other viable options. Since it can be challenging to strengthen your role as a parent by giving your children the ultimatum of seeking treatment or “figuring it out” on their own, less extreme actions can be taken to reduce enabling their addiction. For instance, no longer financially supporting or cleaning up after your child may give them an extra nudge to take some responsibility in their life. If nothing else, it will make them have to put greater effort toward financing their habit and create more visible unmanageability. In some cases, this may make matters worse by putting strain on the entire family. If this happens, you may find it beneficial to reach out for external professional help. Helping your child into treatment is considered the best form of support and should not be viewed as enabling.
Addiction Affects The Entire Family
If you are a concerned family member of an addict and are worried about enabling them, it may be best to stage an intervention along with other family members as well. If they have been staying with you and continuing to use their drug of choice, you may feel it’s best to let them know that if they don’t put an effort into cleaning up their act, then they should find somewhere else to stay. You should not be covering up for them or correcting their mistakes. Not only does this prolong their use, but it makes the continuation of their use easier. If an addict doesn’t run into any problems that stem from the result of using, why would they ever feel inclined to stop?
Significant Other of Addict
Even just believing your loved one’s lies can quickly transcend toward the meaning of enable. When their excuses become questionable and you choose to let it slide when there is more than reasonable doubt, you give them the power to take advantage of you. When the addict knows they can easily manipulate, they will keep doing this because there is no consequence for their actions. It can be heartbreaking and downright difficult to confront your loved one’s problem, but you have to stand up to them or risk being of assistance to their sickness by not being proactive in reducing the madness.
Codependency and Enabling
Many people close with an addict fail to realize that they are inclined to continue enabling the one they love most because they themselves are in an unhealthy codependent relationship with the addict. The meaning of enable is hard to entirely grasp because you may not clearly see how helping them is actually hurting them. You may also be unaware in seeing how badly someone is truly suffering. This could be because you want them to be the good person you perceive them to be. After all, you may figure ignorance is bliss, but that alone is enabling them because you don’t want to see the problem that their addiction really is.
If you are unsure if you are enabling or supporting your loved one’s addiction, you can talk to one of our addiction specialists today for more information. 1-877-975-4837.
Is your loved one sober, but still acting out in addictive behaviors? Click here: Enabling The Personality of An Addict or Alcoholic.