Denial and addiction often go hand-in-hand. People who suffer from substance use disorder frequently have a hard time admitting that they have problems. This difficulty is one the most common causes for delays in treatment. As people struggle with their drug or alcohol use, they make constant efforts to convince themselves that they’ve got everything under control. Sadly, in addition to their own, internal battles with denial, these same individuals are often surrounded by enablers. These are people who make the unhealthy behaviors of addicts possible. They justify their actions with excuses, and often provide money, shelter, and other resources to support their habits. Whether consciously or unconsciously, enablers also ignore the increasingly negative effects of their loved one’s actions.
Although it usually begins with the best of intentions, enabling someone with substance use disorder causes them harm in a variety of ways. Most important of these is preventing people from experiencing the consequences of their unhealthy decisions. Even as enablers worry for the safety of their loved ones, they’re simultaneously taking actions to ensure that things stay exactly the same. While you might feel like the support you offer your family member or friend is keeping them from becoming seriously hurt, continued efforts to enable this individual will prevent them from seeking help, and can ultimately have incredibly serious repercussions.
<h2>Identifying and Addressing Enabling Behaviors</h2>
When people seek treatment for substance use disorder, addiction counselors often recommend treatment for their loved ones as well. Drug and alcohol addiction can have a negative impact on everyone in the home, and within an individual’s close personal circle. People who love those who struggle with addiction can deal with tremendous amounts of anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. They can also maintain behaviors that actually contribute to a person’s addiction, and that undermine their efforts in recovery. Anyone can be an enabler. However, enablers are most often people whose opinions matter to an addict, and who share close emotional connections. An enabler can be a spouse, a friend, a parent, or even a grandparent.
Because enabling is ultimately done from a caring position, it is often difficult for enablers to recognize their behaviors as being detrimental. Among some of the most common enabling behaviors are:
<li>Paying rent, utility bills, or other living expenses for a person who’s caused themselves financial harm</li>
<li>Calling in and making excuses for someone about why they can’t make it into work or school</li>
<li>Steering clear of conversations about substance use disorder and addiction treatment to avoid emotional turmoil</li>
<li>Cleaning up messes that a person has made while drunk or high</li>
<li>Accepting excuses or believing lies, no matter how outlandish they might seem</li>
<li>Perpetuating unhealthy behaviors as normal or justifiable</li>
These and other enabling actions make it possible for addicts to continue believing that they’ve got everything under control. However, research shows that the most likely catalyst for seeking treatment is the understanding that life is falling apart, and that it will continue to fall apart without intervention. In short, most people need to hit their personal “rock bottom” before they’ll start taking actions to address their illness.
With enablers, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can continue engaging in unhealthy behaviors without losing their homes, their jobs, or suffering other major losses. These are losses that will eventually eliminate a person’s ability to continue living in denial. Although the efforts of an enabler can certainly make life more comfortable for an addict, they do not benefit this individual in any way. This is especially true when it comes to their constantly degrading physical and emotional health, their loss of meaningful relationships, and the ongoing legal and financial risks that they face.
Just as identifying enabling behaviors isn’t easy, choosing to stop enabling is difficult as well. There is always the fear that an addict will lose total control without the support they’ve been receiving. Moreover, many addicts recognize this fear and often use manipulation to ensure that their bills will continue being paid, that they’ll have sufficient pocket money for covering their habits, and that they have something to eat and somewhere to live. However, the only way to help your loved one get on the path towards health and self-sufficiency is by admitting that a problem exists, and by allowing them to come to this recognition as well. If your loved one is struggling with addiction, helping them get treatment is the absolute best thing that you can do to show you care. When enabling behaviors are an issue, getting treatment for yourself is important as well. If you want to find a top-rated drug or alcohol addiction rehab, and secondary services for family members, spouses, or friends of addicts, we can help. Call us today at 123-456-7890.