Supporting Recovery Without Enabling

A recent study revealed that as many as 12.5 million spouses suffer from the effect of addiction. Substance abuse can destroy any relationship, including romantic ones. It leads to distrust and takes relationship beyond repair.

Dealing with a loved one who is a substance abuser can be difficult, especially when you are unfamiliar with the situation. In most cases, people end up enabling substance abusers instead of helping them to get better.

Coping With An Addicted Loved One

With the rate of addiction currently on a high, it is certain that many people will encounter at least one substance abuser at some stage in their life. For some, the addict will be their parent, child, sibling, a close friend or spouse. The first step to helping is knowing how their habits affect your own life.

According to the psychologists, families of addicts not only deal with the user’s behaviour, legal and financial consequences but are prone to instances of domestic abuse, social problems, illness and eventually, a broken home.

There is a strong correlation between substance abuse and violent behaviour, with some reports revealing that 92% of domestic abusers consumed alcohol or drugs on the day of assault.

The Difference Between Enabling And Supporting?

Recognising addiction in a loved one is not a pleasant thing. In fact, most people will try to justify the actions of their loved one. Others simply look the other way and downplay the addict’s behaviour.

It is not unfamiliar to see situations where families think they are helping the substance abuser, but are really making things worse. A chronic drug user will take your money, goodwill, time and energy, and leave you totally drained. They can break your heart and their promises- how you deal with them is important in determining their path towards getting better.

You enable an addict when you continue to feed their dangerous lifestyle with resources they request. If you truly care, you should get them the professional help or support they need.

Different Ways You May Be Enabling An Addict

  • Giving them money for drugs.
  • Allowing them use drugs around you without attempting to stop them.
  • Calling their boss to say they are ill, when in fact they are intoxicated.
  • Taking responsibilities for them; house cleaning, buying groceries, sorting their bills.
  • Justifying excuses for their wrongful behaviour.

If you have to lie to cover an addict’s vices, you are not supporting but enabling them.

How To Support An Addict

  • Don’t give them money to fund their habits.
  • Get to know more about the problem and how you can help them overcome it.
  • Don’t accept blame: it is common for loved ones to feel it’s their fault.
  • Don’t put your life on hold. You can help and carry on with your life simultaneously.
  • Love without enabling them.

Get Them Professional Help

The financial assistance you can give them is pay for their treatment at an accredited facility. Make sure they are committed to getting better.

Don’t handle it alone. Involve their family or introduce them to support groups. When they get better, they’ll thank you for it.

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