When you love someone, you want to help him or her in any way possible during troubling times. Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between helping and enabling when your loved one has an addiction. In fact, this line is so fine that you may wonder, “Am I an enabler?” If you are, the best way to help your loved one is to stop enabling his or her behavior.
Am I An Enabler?
In order to determine if you’re an enabler, you have to understand what this term means. In general, it comes up in the context of being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction. Keep in mind that you can enable nearly any kind of addiction, including gambling, shopping, and sex addiction.
An enabler is someone who eliminates the natural consequences that a loved one would normally experience because of addiction. This description is rather broad, but enabling comes in several forms.
For example, let’s say that your child has a shopping addiction. A natural consequence is that he or she runs out of money and goes into debt. If you give your child money or pay off the debt, you have enabled the behavior.
How Do People Enable Addiction?
There are many ways that you can enable addiction. In fact, codependency is the cornerstone of many long-running addictions. Most people can’t support themselves when they struggle with addiction. It takes others to support their destructive habits.
However, how does someone enable the addiction? Some of the most common ways include paying for, covering up or simply ignoring the addiction. Yes, ignoring an addiction is an enabling behavior because it allows the destructive habit to continue.
For instance, let’s say that your spouse has a drinking problem and keeps missing work. If you call in for your spouse and make an excuse, you enable that behavior. You prevent your spouse from losing his or her job, which is a natural consequence of the drinking problem.
Signs of Being an Enabler
The question to answer is, “Am I an enabler?” The answer is important if you live with someone who struggles with addiction. If you find out that you’re an enabler, addiction help for families might be the answer. Some signs that you enable a loved one include:
Ignoring addictive behavior
Having trouble expressing feelings out of fear of the repercussions
Making excuses for the loved one, such as blaming others or situations
Putting the loved one’s needs ahead of your own
Covering up mistakes for the loved one
If you have any of the problems above, there’s a chance that you’re an enabler. In that case, it’s just as crucial for you to get help as it is for your loved one. Thankfully, rehab centers can provide treatment for the whole family.
We Can Help You and Your Loved One Overcome Addiction
Are you worried that someone you love has an addiction? Do you often ask, “Am I an enabler?” If so, it’s time to visit Steps to Recovery. We offer numerous programs that can help you and your loved one, such as:
Intensive outpatient program
Individual and group counseling
Do your part to help the one you love. Find out more about the question, “Am I an enabler?” Get help today when you call us at 866.488.8684.
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