When you love someone, it is natural to want to help them when they are struggling, and to do things that make them happy.  When you love someone with an addiction, it can be difficult to determine where to draw the line between help and enabling behavior.  While you should never blame yourself for the circumstances of an addicted loved one, it is important to assess your own role in their recovery and make changes if necessary.  One way to differentiate enabling behavior from genuine help is to ask yourself if you are providing something your loved one would be able to do for themselves if they were sober.  If the answer is yes, you may be enabling an addict.

Loved ones of people with addictions often help financially when substance abuse inevitably affects an individual’s ability to pay bills and support their addiction.  Keep in mind that in most cases, if it weren’t for substances, your loved one would be able to financially support themselves. Giving them money that they didn’t earn only allows them to remain in active addiction.  Similarly, if you find yourself lying to your loved one’s employer to cover for them when they miss work, you are only protecting them from the consequences of their own actions. While it is natural to want to protect someone you love from negative outcomes, sometimes these experiences are a necessary part of growth.

The best way to release yourself from a pattern of enabling behavior is to let your loved one know that you care about them, and you will no longer be taking any actions that you believe might be preventing them from facing the reality of their addiction.  While denying help to someone you care about with a substance use disorder can be extremely difficult, it may be the best thing you ever do for them.  

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.