Enabling and Addiction: What You Need To Know
From the outside, it seems easy to identify the problems with a drug addict. However, when you live with an addict, your experience is very different. The behaviors that seem so obvious to others are not as clear when you are that close to the problem. That is why it is important to understand enabling.
What Is Enabling?
Enabling is any behavior or attitude that allows an addict to avoid responsibility for his or her actions. Anything that prevents an addict from facing the realities of addiction is enabling. This sounds simple in theory. In application, it can be harder to distinguish.
After all, enabling often happens in intimate relationships. Couples enable each other; parents enable their children. Enablers may consider their actions to be supportive and loving. They may even think they are helping the addict. Enabling behaviors may feel natural because they are performed in love.
Why Is Enabling Bad?
Unfortunately, despite good intentions, enabling does not help your spouse enter rehab for heroin addiction. It will not push your child to detox from suboxone. Instead, enabling allows the addict to continue in the addiction unchecked. The addict may promise to do better in exchange for the enabling behaviors, but without proper impetus, rehab is unlikely.
The reason why is simple. When you enable someone, you are not giving them any reason to change since they are not facing the consequences of their addiction. Addiction can ruin lives, but enabling softens the impact to make it seem like everything is fine.
It is important to continue loving someone with an addiction. It is also good to help that person with detox or rehab. Understanding that fine line between support and enabling is absolutely critical. That distinction can make all the difference in your life and in the life of the person you care about.
What Are Examples of Enabling?
Enabling can take many forms. These are some of the most common types, but it is important to remember that every situation is different.
- Financial assistance: Providing money to an addict is one of the most common forms of enabling. An addict may request money for food, shelter or bills, but many times, this money is used to buy heroin, suboxone or other drugs.
- Excuses: Addicts have destructive behaviors and often make poor decisions. Instead of letting the addict live with the consequences of those decisions, enablers try to explain them away. They may say that the suboxone drug use is just a way to cope with stress. They may suggest that the heroin use stems from a traumatic past. Enablers come up with any explanation to downplay the seriousness of the addiction.
- Deferred blame: Enablers often look to spread out the blame for the addiction. Couples may blame work problems. Parents may blame friends for being bad influences. By deferring the blame, the addict has less incentive to change.
- Avoidance: In some cases, enablers may not acknowledge the problem at all. The drug use may be ignored. The signs of heroin addiction are overlooked. When someone confronts them about a loved one’s suboxone addiction, they refuse to see the evidence.
What Should I Do?
If someone you care about is a drug addict, enabling will only make the situation worse. If you want to help them, it is important to get support with detox and rehab immediately. Fortunately, there are many facilities that can help with detox from heroin, suboxone and other controlled substances. To learn more about detox, rehab and how you can help, consider the following websites.