It’s hard to watch a family member, partner, or friend struggle, so the best way to help them is to ‘take’ part of the problem. That’s by no means easy, and people whose loved ones have addiction problems know that best. But it’s the second nature of people to help those in trouble.
Helping an addict is a long, tiring, and stressful process. It’s not something anyone can handle. Also, not everyone does it the right way. Some people think that they help their loved ones and diminish their pain by supporting, reducing, or neglecting the harmful effects of their behavior. That’s what experts call enabling.
On the following page, learn more about common addiction types:
What Is Enabling
It’s a form of codependency where both parties feed off their emotional needs. This relationship develops out of fear, compassion, or simply because you want the best for your loved ones, even though they’re addicts. Or you might think you do.
While the urge to help an abuser is natural, you should be aware that enabling their behavior is counter-productive. When you enable someone, you deny their addiction and need for help. Enabling is not helping; in fact, you risk making the problem even worse.
For example, giving money to teens you suspect drinking or gambling enables addiction. So you should stop it. Adopting a tough-love approach is essential in helping your loved one overcome their addiction. Instead of neglecting or hiding their problem, you should provide them with resources to change their behavior without enabling them.
Be Compassionate and Supportive
Suppose you don’t know why someone drink, do drugs or seek an escape in the online world. In that case, you can unconsciously support and encourage their negative behavior. So instead of being an observer, you should take an active role in their recovery. A well-planned recovery approach requires the involvement of the entire family.
You can start by understanding the underlying reasons for your loved one’s addiction. That can be a helpful first step to helping them recover. Next, these people must feel your love and support, which can be a significant tipping point in their recovery process. Addicts who feel alone and helpless will rarely make it.
While many people are very concerned for their loved ones, they often cross the line between supporting and enabling them. So it’s important to remember that enabling addicts doesn’t mean providing them with the resources they need to stop abusing drugs. You might think you help, but you actually make them feel worse. So you must be careful not to become a supporter of an addict’s addiction.
One of the first things to remember when helping an addict is not to make judgments. You should be available to talk whenever they are ready and give them support. But do that without criticizing and making them feel bad. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t point out their problematic behavior and consequences. Again, tough love can be a key.
For difficult conversations, choose neutral territories where the addict won’t feel trapped. Also, avoid group conversations, even within the family, at least initially. That way, the person in trouble won’t feel like everyone are against them.
Listening is just as important as talking. If you listen to what your loved ones are saying, you can better understand their point of view, even if you disagree. So encouraging the addict to speak will enable them not to perceive the conversation as a lecture or an attack. More tips on helping these people seek help are listed on this source.
While it’s essential to support an addict struggling with the recovery process, it’s also important not to create a crisis yourself by enabling and ignoring the problem. If you do that, you’re not interested in the abuser’s recovery but in keeping the peace. In other words, don’t take the path of least resistance by doing some things just to make them feel good and not disturb you.
Once you quit enabling, you can trigger some destructive emotions in the addict. Even though you do that with the utmost care and compassion, their first reaction will be anger and resentment. But don’t react emotionally to this behavior or bad decisions the addict has made. Just have enough patience to go through these hard times with them.
The extreme that some enablers go to is putting the addict’s needs above their own. This type of behavior may lead to difficulty expressing emotions and even lying to cover up their mistake. Ultimately, their behavior will hurt you and probably ruin you emotionally and financially.
The solution is to set firm boundaries and allow the addicts to feel the consequences of their actions. You should be no lifeline at all costs. Some people simply need to hit rock bottom to rise again. In those moments, be there for them, but without the promise of rescue.
Get Involved in Recovery Treatment
While enabling behavior is a common tendency among friends and family members, it’s not a healthy way to respond. That’s why you should educate yourself about addiction and recovery options. Knowledge will be your great power, as you’ll know how to help your loved ones without enabling them.
If a sufferer starts rehab, you should also get involved in the treatment. First, get more information on the specific rehab programs. That will bring a better understanding of what addicts go through. Also, if you need any additional advice or guideline on helping an addict, you can visit some rehab facilities in Littleton and seek counseling. That will also help you deal with the stress and challenges that a life with an addict can bring.
Addiction destroys the lives of not only addicts but also the people around them. Sufferers need great support and participation in the recovery process. But it’s easy to fall into enabling behavior when you have good intentions. So you should learn how to be there for them without encouraging their addiction.