Am I Enabling My Loved One?

Watching your loved one go through the struggle of drug or alcohol addiction is a jarring experience. In fact, some people tend to retreat when their relatives or friends are in rehab. While you do want you give your loved one the space to heal, showing support is also important. Still, though, you want to know the difference between showing support and enabling your loved one.

Recognizing Signs of Enablement

Some signs of enablement are fairly obvious. In other cases, however, you might be enabling your loved ones without fully recognizing what you’re doing. Some signs that you’re enabling your relative or friend include the following:

  • Directly offering the substance
  • Surrounding your loved one with the substance
  • Allowing for small amounts of usage
  • Making excuses for usage
  • Discouraging professional help

All of these actions could be encouraging your loved one to continue abusing drugs or alcohol.

Directly Offering the Substance

You should not be offering substances to your loved ones who are struggling with an addiction. Avoid offering the substances to which they are addicted and any other substances as well. This suggestion might be obvious, but some people will say that they are only offering one beer or one puff of a joint. When your loved one is trying to recover from an addiction, even a small bit of the drug can set back the efforts.

Surrounding Your Loved One with the Substance

While you want your loved one to still participate in family events and gatherings, you have to approach this action in a sensitive and responsible fashion. Understand that your loved one might need to decline invitations to parties that are going to have a lot of alcohol. Forcing your loved ones to be around substances that are addictive is a potentially destructive action.

Allowing for Small Amounts of Usage

When your loved ones are recovering from alcohol addiction, you might say that it is okay for these individuals to have one or two glasses of wine. You do not want to encourage the usage of any drugs or the consumption of any alcohol at this point in their recovery. Saying that a small amount is okay might encourage your loved ones to use more.

While it’s true that there are some recovery programs that employ a graduated approach to stopping usage, this treatment is done under appropriate supervision. Trying to help your loved one at home in this fashion is dangerous and unproductive.

Making Excuses for Usage

A common way in which people enable their loved ones is through making excuses for continued usage and abuse. You might say that your loved ones have not yet sought treatment because they are going through difficult financial situations in their lives or because they want to finish their college degrees first. Making excuses for your loved ones is not helping.

In fact, you may very well be encouraging your loved ones to come up with more of their own excuses for not seeking treatment. Instead of saying why your loved ones can’t go into treatment now, encourage the reasons why they should and can.

Discouraging Professional Help

Watching your loved ones struggle with the idea of going to rehab can also be emotionally challenging. Your relatives and friends might plead with you to please give them more opportunities at home. Keep in mind that you are not a trained professional in the field of drug and alcohol rehabilitation and recovery. Instead of agreeing with your loved one about the reasons to avoid seeking professional treatment, have a conversation about the benefits of enrolling in a rehab program.

Hearing your encouraging words about professional treatment can be exactly what your loved ones need to take the next step to enroll in a program. When you love people, knowing the right answer to their problems is difficult. You likely want to both sympathize and empathize with your relatives and friends. Understand that there is a point at which doing so qualifies as enabling. Instead of promoting further usage, call 833-820-2922 today to get professional guidance.