It’s hard to watch someone we care about struggle with addiction. We want to help them in any way we can, but often what we think is helping is actually doing more harm than good.
Addiction is a multi-faceted and very complex condition that has a tendency to tear families apart and ruin lives. It’s understandable that family members or close friends would want to do whatever they can to help their addicted loved one, but there is a very fine line between helping someone and enabling their addiction.
Helping vs. Enabling
While the line between the two can become pretty blurry, there is actually clear distinction between the two when you know what to look for. At some point it’s practically impossible not to want to help someone you love that’s struggling with addiction. But are you helping them or making their addiction all the easier?
Helping an addict is just that. You’re doing something for them that they’re unable to do for themselves. Enabling is doing something for them that they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves. Here’s where things begin to get tricky.
Say the addict you love couldn’t pay their rent for the month. Are you helping them by offering financial assistance (just this once) or enabling their behavior by allowing them to believe that this is something they can get away with? They’re perfectly capable of paying rent, only their addiction somehow got in the way…no matter what excuse they may have. This is a case of enabling, not helping someone out who’s in need.
It’s important to know the difference, because it could make all the difference. The longer an addict thinks they can get away with their behavior the longer it will last. If you’re dealing with the addiction of a loved one, you need to learn where to draw the line.
Signs of enabling an addict include:
- Finishing things they never completed
- Calling into work or school for them
- Making excuses for their behavior
- Giving them money
- Giving them one more chance
- Paying their bills
- Apologizing for things they did
- Bailing them out of jail
- Paying court fines or costs
- Paying for damage they’ve caused
- Covering up their lies
- Believing their lies
- Threaten to leave but don’t
It’s not easy to watch a loved one go through addition, but when you do anything in the above mentioned list you’re doing way more harm than good. Nothing comes out of enabling an addict except more pain, confusion, and unpredictable behavior. No matter how much you think otherwise, they’re not going to change if you continue to enable their behavior.
While everyone who’s had an addicted loved one has done their best to avoid enabling, it’s only natural for it to occur. If you’re having a hard time stopping your enabling behavior it’s important you find ways to change.
As hard as it may be, doing some of the following will help you stop enabling. You’re never going to “fix” an addict no matter how hard you think you’re trying. Their addiction is way beyond your control and having the proper coping mechanisms will ensure you’re doing more good than harm. Ways to stop your enabling behavior include:
- Stop making excuses for their mistakes
- Don’t believe everything they say
- Don’t lie for them
- Don’t be afraid to let them deal with their own mistakes
- Never bail them out of jail
- Follow through with what you tell them you’re going to do
- Don’t play victim to their behavior
- Don’t argue with them
- Don’t give them another chance when you say you’re done
While this can all sound good in theory, putting it to action can prove to be an entirely different story. It’s really, really difficult to watch someone you care about continue to harm themselves over and over again. The sooner you stop enabling their behavior, the sooner they’ll realize their destructive behavior.
If you truly believe that the addict you care about is ready, offering to help them seek treatment is definitely more help than harm. With the many different forms of addiction treatment that are now available, getting help for addiction has never been easier. From inpatient treatment to outpatient care, the options for addiction recovery are widespread and as multi-faceted as addiction itself.
Don’t think you’re enabling if you’re discussing treatment and it didn’t work before. Everyone is different. Ibogaine treatment offers an option most addicts have never heard of before. Ibogaine also offers a treatment solution that works with a much higher success rate than other traditional treatment methods. Contact us for more information on how Ibogaine can help you or your loved one get free from addiction.