Are You an Enabler? 2

If you have a loved one in your life who is currently an addict, our hearts go out to you & your family. We know how difficult it can be to live and interact with addictive behavior. This week, we're hoping shed some light on ways that you can make sure you don't make the situation worse. Here are behaviors to make sure you don't do for the addict:

  • Bail out of jail- Alot of people think getting the addict out of jail is the first thing to do, but they actually might be safest there. Yesterday Teri explained how the addict needs to hit "rock bottom" in their addiction. Going to jail & sitting in a jail cell can help an addict hit rock bottom. Bailing them out of jail won't allow them to feel the severity of the situation, and will put them back in the unsafe situation that got them there in the first place. In jail, the addict cannot do their addiction, and takes them away from their surroundings that are so unsafe for them.
  • Lie to cover up problems- Making excuses or lying for an addict makes it easier for them to do their addiction. Covering up an addicts problems doesn't allow the addict to truly see how bad it's getting, and it makes you forget how bad it's getting too. You start believing the lies you tell as well. When you start lying to others to cover up the problems, other people don't know when to step in and confront and offer healthy help. Others believe things are fine, because you're lying and telling them a false story. Just as the quote says, "The truth will set you free".
  • Deny the addiction to others- It's hard to admit that a loved one has an problem, or an addiction for that matter. Your first response may be "Oh, they don't have an addiction, they just like to _______". Denying that a problem exists does not mean that it will get better. Admitting a problem exists means you can start taking action on your end. You will not be able to get your loved one "sober", but you can start taking care of yourself and getting a game plan in place for yourself if the addiction continues or worsens.
  • Ignore or laugh at the problem- An addict loves it when people do this! When people find humor in their behavior, or bury their head in the sand at the reality of a situation, it gives an addict a green light. It says "Keep doing what you're doing" or "I'm perfectly fine with this and I'll even have a few laughs with you at your own expense". An addict doesn't need someone nagging them, but they also don't need people turning their heads each time something happens. Loving, confronting statements that are based in reality (not denial) will be more helpful.

Do you see yourself in any of these? If so, we encourage you to get support, and start getting education on addictions and learn how to make sure you're taking care of yourself. We know noone wants to make it accidentally easy for the addict to hurt themselves further. Later this week Natalie and Joleen will go over more ways that people can enable an addict. Thank you for reading!

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

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.