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How You’re Enabling Your Loved One’s Drug Addiction

It’s extremely common for family members of addicts to believe that they aren’t enabling their loved ones—we see it all the time. They think that if they’re not giving them cash to buy drugs or aren’t constantly bailing them out of jail they’re in the clear. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t enabling their loved one in other ways.

When your family member or loved one has an addiction, understanding the difference between helping and enabling is vital on their path to seeking drug addiction treatment. Here’s how you can tell if your efforts to “help” are actually doing more harm than good.

1. You Find Yourself Lying on Your Loved One’s Behalf

When your loved one has an addiction, it’s easy for family members and friends to start lying on their behalf to prevent their addiction from becoming worse. For instance, you might call in sick to their place of work on their behalf so that they don’t lose their job. You might believe doing so will provide your loved one with some time to get their act together when in actuality you are just enabling them to continue using because they do not have to face the consequences of their actions.

2. You Make Excuses for Your Loved One’s Negative Behaviour

Similar to the previous point, you may find yourself in a position where you are making excuses for your loved one’s negative behaviour. The symptoms and signs of drug addiction aren’t always easy to spot, leaving room for doubt. If your loved one is abusing substances, it’s easy to tell yourself and others that they’re just going through a hard time right now. In the end, it’s better to stop making excuses for their negative behaviour.

3. You Believe their Addiction Will Go Away on Its Own

Among other myths about drug addiction, you think your loved one is “just going through a phase” and they can stop abusing substances at any time. However, this is definitely not the case. Pretending that your loved one’s addiction will go away on its own by ignoring it will only encourage them to continue.

Ultimately, this prolongs their addiction and delays the start of drug addiction treatment. Like other kinds of diseases, addiction will not just go away on its own. If it is not addressed by professionals it will likely only become worse.

4. You Control Your Loved One’s Life for Them

When it comes down to it, there is a very fine line between helping someone and enabling their addiction. Helping means that you are doing things for someone that they can’t do for themselves, whereas enabling means you are doing things for them that they can—and should—be doing for themselves.

If you have found yourself in a position where you are managing your loved one’s life for them, such as making sure they pay their bills, eat properly, or arrive to work on time, then you are not helping. Tasks like these are things that responsible adults should all be able to do for themselves. If you have any hope that your loved one will recover from their addiction, they need to manage their own life and responsibilities.

5. You Avoid Confronting Your Loved One About Their Addiction

Confronting an addict isn’t easy, especially when it’s someone you love. When it comes to addiction, most people are in deniable about their behaviour and substance abuse. This can mean approaching the subject results in hurt feelings and lashing out—which you will likely be on the receiving end of.

However, if you believe that your loved one has a drug addiction making the brave decision to talk to them about it is one of the best things you can do for them, otherwise, they will continue down this destructive path. If they’re willing to listen, you may be able to help them safely detox and begin drug addiction treatment.

Close up of a man drinking an excessive amount of alcohol

6. You Participate in Risky Behaviour with Your Loved One

This is probably the most obvious way you may be enabling your loved one’s drug addiction. Even if you believe that you can model what responsible drug use looks like when engaging in it with them, it is important that you understand that addiction does not work that way. Your loved one won’t see you having one glass of wine at dinner and think they should do the same. Addiction essentially means losing control when it comes to substances and no amount of trying to only have that one glass will change this fact.

Drug Addiction Treatment at Freedom From Addiction

If your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, Freedom From Addiction can help. We offer a comprehensive drug rehab program in Toronto that utilizes a variety of proven methods to get addicts on the road to sobriety, including individual and group counselling, relapse prevention planning, as well as drug and alcohol medical detox.

Additionally, we offer support to the family and loved ones of our clients. If you want to stage an intervention for someone you know, find organized groups with other people who have family members who are afflicted by addiction, or simply wish to be more educated on addiction, we can help. Contact us today to find out more information.


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