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Signs of Enabling a Loved One’s Addiction

Enabling an addiction can lead to devastating results. Loved ones of people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse can be unaware. They often don’t know they are exhibiting behaviors that could be harming their loved ones. These behaviors can lead to furthering their addiction, making it difficult for them to begin a life of recovery.

It can also lead to deterioration of health and wellness for the person trying to help the individual who is struggling. There is a fine line between helping and contributing to the addiction. Learning how to be helpful is crucial for friends and family of individuals struggling with addiction.

Recognizing When A Loved One Needs Rehab

Rehab can be a beneficial starting point for people who struggle with addiction to begin their recovery journey. Enabling an addiction only prolongs the pain all parties are experiencing. Identifying and recognizing when a loved one needs rehab can help shorten the road of self-destruction.

Changes in mood, behavior, and overall well-being can be indicative of substance abuse problems, and potentially signify that the individual may need rehab. Encouraging them to get help can coax them in the right direction.

Approaching Them About Detox

Struggling with drug and alcohol addiction is extremely difficult. The individuals who struggle are often also struggling with feelings of shame and guilt that contribute to their continued substance use. Detox can be a crucial first step to them healing and learning to live life without using drugs and alcohol to cope.

Approaching a loved one who is struggling with addiction can be overwhelming. However, doing so lovingly and compassionately can help them to make a decision that can ultimately better their life. 

What is Enabling?

Enabling refers to a set of behaviors that can contribute to or perpetuate another person’s self-destructive behaviors. In the sense of substance abuse, it is common for parents, wives, siblings, or other loved ones to unknowingly enable an addiction within their loved one. This can occur by providing for them financially, bailing them out of trouble, or ignoring problem warning signs. 

Signs of Enabling

The signs that someone may be enabling an addiction include making excuses for inappropriate behaviors or actions, covering up failures and mistakes, providing financial or material support, and helping them to avoid consequences.

Enablers often place the needs of the individual using drugs like opiates and cocaine above their own and avoid needed yet difficult conversations. Setting boundaries may also prove to be extremely difficult. Recognizing these patterns of behavior is crucial for breaking the cycle, and promoting a healthier relationship between the different parties. 

What Are the Effects?

The effects of enabling an addiction can be extremely detrimental to those on both sides of addiction. Not only does it cause havoc and chaos in the life of the individual trying to help, but it also causes damage to the person who struggles with addiction.

These behaviors can perpetuate someone’s addiction by allowing the opportunity to continue self-destructive behaviors. Shielding someone from the consequences of their actions and behaviors can prevent them from seeing the true scope of the problem. This can also prevent them from seeking much-needed help and taking responsibility for their actions. 

Practicing Tough Love and Boundaries

Boundaries can only help promote healing and growth for all parties involved. They can protect the mental health of the person enabling an addiction, allowing them to learn healthy ways of helping their loved one. It is possible to help the person struggling without harming them; it just takes tough love and boundaries.

By standing up and saying that there will no longer be all of these behaviors, no more financial help, no more chaos, the individual using substances inevitably has to face the reality of their actions. 

Examples of Boundaries

Boundaries can be difficult. Therefore, it can be beneficial to know helpful ones to implement that can help create a path to recovery for both sides of addiction. Those struggling with enabling an addiction can begin by ending the financial responsibility they carry at the hands of the addicted loved one.

By not providing the money, paying the bills, or even just putting gas in their car, the person has an interruption in their substance use. 

Signs of Codependency

Codependency is common between those who struggle with addiction and those enabling an addiction. This term refers to a dysfunctional relationship. This occurs when 1 party persistently prioritizes the needs of the other party above their own.

Signs of codependency can include:

  • A deep need or desire for approval from others
  • Patterns of avoiding conflict
  • Excessive worries surrounding the behaviors of a loved one, and
  • An overwhelming fear of abandonment or rejection.

As a result, it can contribute to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Addressing the feelings and behaviors can be crucial to beginning the healing process.

Freedom is Possible

Substance abuse and addiction can wreak havoc on the lives of everyone involved. Often, loved ones unknowingly enable the individual’s behaviors. Enabling causes harm not only to the individual who is struggling but also their loved ones.

Encouraging detox can help them to learn to live free of drugs and alcohol. At Lexington Addiction Center we provide a safe and productive environment for people to heal and grow.

Call us and begin a path to a happy and healthy life.