By Jennifer McDougall
When someone you know is battling an addiction and desperately needs help changing their current conditions and lifestyle the last thing they need is to be influenced by an enabler. If you are not careful, that enabler could be you.
Do you have a loved one who wants to quit drinking or using drugs, but on the weekends you try to persuade them to loosen up and have some fun by encouraging them to indulge? If so, you are not helping this person get to where they want and need to be. You are enabling them.
Sometimes a person who is trying to come off drugs or alcohol has a difficult time communicating the problem. They may even have difficulty saying no to you. Maybe they have not realized yet why they are using drugs and alcohol; all they know is they want to stop, because it is creating a mess out of their life.
If someone you know has talked to you about making a positive change such as quitting smoking, drinking, or using drugs please listen to them carefully. In many cases, there is a lot more to it than the substance abuse itself. Persuading them to do something they actually don’t want to do could reside in anger quickly down the road. They may wake up with a hangover the next morning and yell at you asking you why you don’t take the situation seriously and respect their wishes to get sober. Surprisingly enough this happens a lot within families, circles of friends, even co-workers who do not understand the sincerity of one’s wishes.
Here are 10 ways to stop being an enabler to a friend or loved one battling an addition:
- Remove all temptation. Do not encourage or provoke drug or alcohol use at any time.
- Motivate and support the positive changes the person is making.
- Allow them to take responsibility for their daily life (finances, job, rent, etc.) while offering help when things become too overwhelming.
- Help provide the skills and resources needed for the abuser to become the best version of themselves that they can reasonably achieve.
- Do not try to sugarcoat the truth. Be real with them, but be ready to listen to their confessions and questions.
- Keep a close watch on what you say around your loved one. Don’t entice them of stories about partying and reminiscing of times when you would get wasted.
- Make sobriety fun (see: 23 Fun Sober Activities).
- Stop coming to the person’s rescue every single time they fail. Failure can actually be a good thing if you allow it to work in the way that teaches the abuser a valuable lesson. Coming to their every call with a solution of your own does not actually help this person.
- Do not punish the person for their actions. Be open to listening to them. Be there to hear them express themselves without you getting angry at them.
- Do not be ashamed of your loved one for their behaviors. Do not tell them how they have embarrassed you or made you look bad in some way. It is important to be stable and compassionate in any disheartening situation your love one may endure with you. Your shame towards your loved one will leave them feeling depressed and withdrawn.
- Reward them sporadically with gifts, notes, and a listening ear.
Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.
Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™
Photo by: Jennifer McDougall