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Using The Seventh Step
Using the Seventh Step Prayer in Recovery
December 16, 2020
six people sitting on chairs talking in a group
The Importance of Step 11 in AA
December 28, 2020
Using The Seventh Step
Using the Seventh Step Prayer in Recovery
December 16, 2020
six people sitting on chairs talking in a group
The Importance of Step 11 in AA
December 28, 2020

How to Stop Enabling


If a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, you may have heard of enabling.

It’s often difficult to say no to someone we care about, especially if it upsets them. However, as much as you may believe you’re helping your loved one by keeping them happy, you may not realize that you’re enabling them.

At our faith-based drug rehab, we offer a variety of addiction treatment programs that target different forms of substance abuse. We incorporate scripture and prayer into our programs to assist patients with their spiritual and physical recovery.

Difference Between Enabling and Helping

Many enablers believe they’re helping the addict by keeping them happy. Causing a loved one distress can be heartbreaking, but allowing or even supporting their substance abuse is never okay. There is a big difference between enabling an addict and helping an addict. Helping an addict refers to doing this for them that they wouldn’t be able to do by themselves if they were sober. Enabling, on the other hand, refers to doing things for an addict that they could do on their own if they were sober. Helping is meant to assist the individual in improving themselves without protecting them from the repercussions of their addiction. Enabling protects the addict from the consequences of their substance abuse. Because they don’t feel an urgency to change their habits, they may continue their addiction out of contentment.

How to Stop Enabling an Addict

Learning how to stop enabling can be difficult. When you stop treating the addict a certain way, tensions may rise. They may question your love for them or whether you care anymore. They may say hurtful things or lash out at you because they’re unhappy with the change. It’s important to stay strong during these moments. There are several ways you can stop enabling and start helping the individual turn their life around.


Get Support for Yourself

Witnessing a loved one battle with addiction can be stressful. Constantly trying to be there for them, without taking the time to care for yourself, can burn you out and take a toll on your health. Learning how to stop enabling starts with taking care of yourself first. To avoid feeling overwhelmed while helping an addict, set aside time where you practice some self-care. Do something relaxing that sets your mind at ease and re-energizes you when you feel like you’re running on empty.

At Faith in Recovery, we have a faith-based family program that helps families of addicts heal from the repercussions of their loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse.


Stage an Intervention

If you’re having trouble getting help for a loved one with an addiction, an intervention may help. An intervention is a meeting in which the addict’s closest friends and family come together to discuss how the addiction has personally affected them. They lovingly confront the individual and encourage them to receive addiction treatment.


Don’t Give Them Financial Help

The worst thing you can do for an addict is support their substance abuse by giving them money. If you are giving money to someone with a drug or alcohol problem, you’re basically setting them up for failure. No matter what they say they’re going to use the money for, do not give an addict money.


Don’t Make Excuses for Them

If you try to protect an addict from confronting the consequences of their addiction, then you’re making excuses for them. If you find yourself calling their place of work and making an excuse for their absence, this constitutes enabling. It may be easier said than done, but the person may have problems at work, home, or even with authorities that they have to face on their own. If they’re fired from their job after several drug-induced absences, then you have to allow them to face the repercussions. While you can drive them to other job interviews, you can’t call their boss and ask for their job back.


Learn When to Say “No”

You won’t stop enabling until you learn the value of the word, “No.” The individual may ask you to do certain things for them like lie, give them money, or cover up any mistakes they made while they were under the influence. In these moments, you have to put your foot down. Rather than protecting them from the aftermath of their behavior, help them face these issues. By agreeing to constantly help them get away with bad behavior, you’re teaching them that they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions.


Set Boundaries

The line separating helping and enabling is thin and easy to overstep. Before helping someone with an addiction, you need to establish healthy boundaries with them. Be clear about how you’re going to help them and what kind of behaviors are considered unacceptable. Boundaries will not only protect you, but they will also prevent the other person from taking advantage.


What health problems might family members develop due to the stress of living with a substance abuser?

Living with a substance abuser is often associated with high levels of stress, which can have negative impacts on the health of family members. As a result of this chronic stress, family members are at risk of developing various health problems, including backaches, digestive issues, headaches, panic attacks or anxiety, and depression. These physical and mental health issues can manifest as persistent discomfort and can significantly affect the overall well-being of individuals living in such environments.


How can families ease the financial burden of someone struggling with addiction?

Families can alleviate the financial burden of a loved one struggling with addiction by providing financial support in a responsible manner. Setting up specific accounts for joint financial management, where a person with addiction can access funds under supervision, can be a strategy employed. Additionally, offering temporary loans when necessary, but with clear guidelines on repayment and monitoring of the usage of the funds, can help prevent misuse. Family members may also consider providing non-monetary support, such as access to resources for treatment and therapy, which can aid in addressing the root cause of the addiction and ultimately reduce the financial strain on both the individual and the family.


Why is it advised to let law enforcement officers handle illegal behavior associated with addiction?

It is advised to let law enforcement officers handle illegal behavior associated with addiction because the consequences of such actions can be severe. People struggling with addiction may engage in illegal activities such as theft, drug abuse, and driving under the influence, which can lead to serious crimes. While families may attempt to intervene and shield their loved ones from the legal repercussions, it is crucial to recognize that a legal intervention can serve as a significant consequence of addiction. Law enforcement officials provide swift and unavoidable consequences that can prompt individuals to face the reality of their actions and seek help. Allowing law enforcement to handle these situations can help shift the individual's perspective and potentially lead to them seeking the necessary support and assistance for their addiction.


Why is working in teams recommended for families dealing with addiction?

Working in teams is recommended for families dealing with addiction as it helps to limit one-on-one interactions with the addicted individual. By working collaboratively, family members can reduce the chances of being manipulated or pressured by the addicted person. When there are multiple people involved, it becomes more challenging for the addicted individual to use charm or manipulation to sway the decisions or actions of a single family member. Additionally, having a team approach allows for a balance of perspectives and support within the family, ensuring that there is always someone who can provide a voice of reason and help the entire family stay committed to their plan of action. Furthermore, working in teams can prevent back-door attacks or sneaky maneuvers by the addicted person, as the presence of multiple family members can provide a sense of unity and strength in facing the challenges posed by addiction.


How can peer support groups like Al-Anon help family members understand addiction better?

Peer support groups like Al-Anon can provide a valuable opportunity for family members to connect with others who have firsthand experience dealing with addiction. These groups offer a safe space for individuals to share their stories and struggles, allowing family members to gain insights and perspectives that they may not have had before. By attending multiple meetings, participants have the chance to deepen their understanding of addiction and its impacts on themselves and their loved ones. The supportive environment of these groups can lead to transformative experiences, helping family members comprehend the seriousness of addiction and equipping them with the knowledge and tools to navigate these challenges more effectively. In essence, Al-Anon and similar peer support groups offer a continuous learning and growth opportunity for family members to better understand addiction and its complexities.


Get Them Help

The best way to avoid enabling an addict is by getting them help. Despite your many efforts, there is only so much you can do to help the individual recover. The most effective way to address substance abuse and help an addict reach sobriety is with professional addiction treatment. Once they’ve gone to a rehabilitation center, you can continue to offer them healthy support in their sobriety.

If you or someone you know is trapped in the cycle of addiction, you can call us today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Christian recovery programs that promote physical and emotional recovery from addiction.