How to Stop Enabling an Addict

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When a person in your life is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will feel compelled to help. Unfortunately, there may come a time when you make decisions that cause more harm than good.

Enabling an addict is the last thing you want to do. Not only can this cause the person harm, but it can make life more difficult on you.

Before we discuss how to stop enabling an addict, let’s look at what it means to be partaking in this type of behavior:

  • You ignore the person’s addiction, acting like it is not that big of a deal.
  • You have a difficult time expressing your true feelings, so you keep everything bottled up inside.
  • Letting your fear get the best of you. In other words, you are afraid of what will happen if you speak out, so you remain silent.
  • Lying to other people to ensure that the addict does not get into trouble.
  • Blaming situations or other people for the person’s behavior.

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Five Steps to Stop Enabling

How to Stop Enabling an Addict

Ignoring that your loved one has a drug problem is one form of enabling.

Now that you know what it means to enable an addict, here are five steps you can take to ensure that this does not remain an issue in the future:

  1. Be open and honest with the person. Let them know that you are no longer able to protect them.
  2. Don’t clean up messes. When the person makes a mess, emotional or physical, leave it be so they can deal with it personally.
  3. Review your options. What will happen if you enable the person? What will happen if you let the situation alone? When you better understand the implications, you can make more confident decisions.
  4. Avoid situations that make you uncomfortable. Rather than put yourself in position to enable the addict, avoid this altogether.
  5. Don’t be afraid to leave the person behind. If drugs or alcohol are holding the person back, let them miss out. This may be the only way they learn, and subsequently realize that professional treatment is a must.

If you want to stop enabling an addict, if you want to help this person get his or her life back on track, follow the five steps above. It is often times easier to enable a person than it is to stand up and do the right thing. Even so, you know what you should and should not be doing. Once you stop enabling a person, he or she may realize that help is necessary.

Call (800) 407-7195 toll free for help finding treatment for addiction.

the Take-Away

As the loved one of someone struggling with addiction, the way you act toward them has an effect on their recovery. Enabling allows them to continue their behavior, which is not helpful to you or to them.