Signs you are enabling an addict
Often times when people close to an addict try to “help” them, what they are actually doing is allowing the progression of the disease. These family and friends of the addict do not know this is what they are doing. This unknown and baffling phenomenon is called enabling. Enabling takes many forms but they all have the same effect: they allow the addict to avoid the consequences of their drug use and drinking. This, as a result, allows the addict to continue on their merry way, secure with the knowledge that no matter how much they screw up, someone will always be there to save them from their mistakes.
So if you think you are enabling an addict, how do you know?
It is important when looking for signs you are enabling an addict to know the difference between enabling and helping. Knowing the difference between enabling and helping an addict is the first step to recognizing the signs.
So what is helping? Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves.
What is enabling? Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves. The key word there most of the time is the “should”. Many addicts may not be capable of doing things for themselves but often times those things are things they should be able to do. Doing those things they should be able to do on their own is enabling.
So what are the signs you are an enabling an addict?
After realizing the difference between helping and enabling you can probably think of a few signs you are enabling without this post. But we are going to go ahead and give you some of the most common signs that you are enabling an addict.
- You call in sick to work for them because they were too tired or hung over. This is classic enabling at its best. There is no reason any other person should be calling work for the addict. That is something they can and should be doing.
- Bailing them out of jail or paying their legal fees. This is another very common sign that you are enabling an addict. Once again paying fees and landing in jail are consequences they should be facing and can deal with.
- You don’t talk to them about their drug use because you are afraid of their response. An addict should be dealing and have to recognize the way they are affecting you and everyone around them. Don’t hold back out of fear. This is just allowing the behavior to go on.
- Loaning money. This is so common in people who are enabling an addict. You want to help so the addict doesn’t starve but the truth is they are probably just using the money to get high. An addict is capable of feeding themselves and should be doing just that. So even if they claim to be starving do not give them money.
- You threaten to leave and then don’t leave. Empty threats just reinforce to the addict that they can get away with whatever behavior they are acting out in. This is enabling them to continue on doing what they are doing with the assurance that you will still be there and that even if you threaten it means nothing. Stick by your word no matter how hard it is!
These are some of the most common signs you are enabling an addict. Remember that it may seem really hard to not want to save the addict but you have to remember that you are not saving them you are allowing them to continue hurting themselves. So actually when you do these things you are fueling their addiction. You may not be able to stand the sight of them hungry or in jail but just trust me when I say it is when they have to face those things that they will finally see what a problem they have. It is easy to deny a problem when you never go hungry or have to face consequences. Stop enabling and when the addict asks for help (to go to treatment) be there.