When you love or care about someone, you don’t want to see this person hurt. Whether emotionally or physically, you do not want to see them suffer and would do anything to prevent them from being so. This is understandable and normal in a family, spousal or dear friend setting. However, when that person you love and care for is an addict, there is a line that is, innocently, often crossed between helping and helping too much. Helping is doing something for someone they cannot do themselves. When you help someone with things they could and should be doing themselves, it can hurt them. This is called enabling. Enabling gives an addict ways to use without consequences. Many families want to fix the addict’s problems, but many end up, unknowingly, contributing to their addiction instead of helping. It is not a guarantee, but putting a stop to the enabling and letting the addict face the consequences of their substance abuse may give them a reason to access their problem, seek help on their own, and finally start their path to recovery.
Learning to Set Boundaries in Sobriety
There are many ways in which you could be helping that can be extremely difficult to quit. Know that no matter what you do, you cannot control what another person does, but you can control what you do. You can control what goes on in your life and what boundaries to set for what is acceptable or not. While trying not to enable any further, it is a good idea to get support from others going through this. Al-Anon and Families Anonymous are support groups that deal with families and addicts.
Tips For Helping A Loved One In Addiction Recovery
So you may have realized you have been enabling and don’t know what to do now or how to stop. This is a very tough decision to make because you don’t want to hurt them but realize this; you are hurting them if you don’t stop the enabling. So first, you want to ask yourself if the addict could do what you are doing if they were not using? Here are a few tips where you can start helping a loved one in recovery and stop enabling:
- Do not allow the addict to continue their current lifestyle – Are you paying any bills that the addict could be paying himself or herself? They may have lost their job due to their addiction and will continue to use and not hurry to find another one if they don’t have to pay bills or rent due to you enabling and paying for them. The addict needs to experience this consequence due to their addiction.
- Do not do things for the addict that they could do themselves – Maybe the addict had their car repossessed and doesn’t have a ride to a job interview or an AA meeting. Giving him or her a ride to or from is helping because this is something they cannot do on his or her own. Enabling is looking up the meeting schedule or searing in the want ads for jobs which the addict is capable all by themselves.
- Let the addict experience his or her consequences from their actions – He or she may get arrested and go to jail for actions of their addiction. Do not bail and/or pay their fines. This will only allow the addict to not fully take on their consequence.
Evoke Wellness MA Can Get You Back On Track
We at Evoke Wellness MA help families get their loved ones back from their addiction and back to a life of recovery. Evoke is an outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. Our explicit goal is to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society.