The majority of people who enable those with addictions are enabling them to benefit themselves. What do we mean by this? Think about the times that you enable your loved one or friend – is it when you tell a family member they are sick, so they can’t show up to a holiday event? Is it when you tell the volunteer organization your loved one couldn’t show up because they were busy with other obligations? If these are lies, so you can cover up your loved one’s addiction, you are likely doing it, so you’re not embarrassed by your loved one’s behaviors. You are not alone and it is perfectly okay to feel like this. With this being said, though, there are ways you can love your friend or family member without enabling them. 

Defining Enabling with Addictions

Enabling, in general, means that you are giving someone the opportunity or ability to do something they want to do. When it comes to addictions, this means you are making it easier or more comfortable for your loved one or friend to use drugs and/or alcohol. This might include:

If you are enabling someone with an addiction, it is time to step back and look at how this is affecting your own life and the life of the addict. It likely isn’t helping either of you. 

Detachment Allows You to Love without Enabling 

Detachment allows you to stop reacting to the addict’s behaviors and actions. This is one of the toughest things family members and friends of addicts need to do. Generally, it will happen after the intervention when your loved one accepts help. 


But, why when they accept help, should you step back? The reason for this is that it is their responsibility to get clean and sober. It is on them to work through their recovery program. You can’t do these things for them. Many family members will try taking control of their loved one’s recovery, but that can’t be the case. In fact, that may only make your loved one want to use drugs and alcohol even more. 


Some of the ways that you can detach from your loved one who has an addiction or is in recovery include:

These are some of the ways that you can detach from your loved one. If you can do these things, even if they take you some time, it will allow you to show that you love your family member or friend, but you won’t be enabling them. 

Things to Consider So You Can Stop Enabling Your Loved One

It can be extremely difficult to stop enabling someone who has an addiction. You really care about and love your family member or friend. It might seem that if you only help them just one more time, they will see the error of their ways and finally get the help they need. Unfortunately, that is not usually how addiction recovery works. 


Your loved one is going to get clean and sober when they are ready to do so. With this being said, there are some ways you can love your family member or friend without enabling them, as you read above. There are also some things you might want to consider during this process, too, such as:

Think about these things for a moment. Maybe, even do some journaling on them. Once you have taken some time to think about these considerations, you can finally shed some light on why and how you are enabling your loved one or friend.


Tips for Supporting Your Loved One without Being an Enabler

There are many ways that you can support your loved one throughout their addiction and recovery journey without being an enabler. Some of the tips that can help you to do this include:

If you have been enabling your loved one or friend, now is the time to stop. You don’t have to give them a warning that you won’t help them with their addiction any more. You have a right to stop enabling them whenever you want to. 


If you can practice and follow through with the tips above, you can support your loved one or friend throughout their addiction and recovery journey, without being an enabler. 

Show Love to Your Addicted Family Member or Friend without Enabling Them

Do you have a family member or friend who struggles with addiction? If so, have you been enabling them to continue abusing drugs and/or alcohol? If you said yes to both questions here today, it is time to follow the tips above, so you can stop enabling your loved one and start supporting them in their recovery journey. 


Contact us today if your loved one is ready to start their addiction treatment journey. 

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