Are You an Enabler? 1

Do you enable an addict in your life? Many people think they are helping a loved one with an addiction, when in reality they are giving an addict permission to sink further into it. As the addiction has more room to grow, the addict gets sicker and loved ones become more discouraged that the addict will ever recover. An addict needs to hit rock bottom in order to make a paradigm shift and get into recovery. Consistent rescuing of the addict will only extend the time it takes for someone to hit rock bottom.

This week Imagine Hope is pointing out some common ways people enable an addict without even thinking about it.

  • Give or Lend Money- Giving an addict money might open up more doors for the addict to invest in their addiction. Having easy assess to money can keep them from realizing how much their addiction is actually costing because they don't experience the pain of struggling to get money.
  • Provide a place to live- A roof over our heads is a necessity. If an addict has pushed the boundaries so far that keeping them in your home will feed their addiction more, than you might need to consider kicking them out. This can be a painful and scary situation for both you and the addict, but might be what creates a rock bottom moment for the addict.
  • Clean up after messes- When an addict doesn't have the chance to see what messes they have created, they will not know how bad it has gotten. As hard as it might be, you need to let things sit until they are able to clean things up on their own.
  • Supply a car- Having a car gives an addict an easier ability to engage in their addiction. The freedom a car provides can enable them to be blinded to their addiction. This could also be a safety issue in that they may use their car after engaging in their addiction and could hurt themselves and/ or someone else.

Addictions are a painful reality for all involved. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, or the list of many others, make sure you are doing your part by not enabling them to continue down their self destructive path.

Keep checking in this week to see if you are an enabler!

*Source: Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism & Drug Addiction by Jeff Jay & Debra Jay

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.