5 Traits of Enablers: Are You Helping or Hurting Someone with an Addiction?

It’s a natural, compassionate instinct to help someone you love who is in pain. If they have a need, you want to fulfill it. When a friend is down, you want to make them feel better. But, there is a distinct line between offering your support and enabling an addict to support their lifestyle. And, it’s critical that you recognize the difference.

If you have a friend or family member who is dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t fall into the dangerous role of becoming their enabler. While you may want to become their “caretaker”, enabling an addict just puts them at risk – physically and psychologically – as they delay getting professional help.

Allowing the pattern of substance use and abuse to continue isn’t good for you – or the person dealing with an addiction. Do these five symptoms sound familiar to you?

5 Signs You Might Be Playing the Role of an Enabler

  1. Prioritizing the other person’s needs above your own. Enablers will typically do whatever it takes to make the individual dealing with addiction happy. Ask yourself, have you ever been financially strapped because you were paying their rent or bills at the expense of your needs?
  2. Helping them cover up problems. An enabler typically wants to keep the peace and avoid bringing attention to the problem of addiction. Do you regularly make excuses for their behavior or take over their responsibilities at home or at work to prevent problems or disagreements?
  3. Ignoring the gravity of the situation. One of the most common symptoms of an enabler is that they refuse to acknowledge the addiction and the person’s need to seek professional help.
  4. Experiencing emotional or physical abuse. When an individual is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to become verbally or physically abusive to those around them. If you continue to accept this type of destructive behavior, you are enabling their lifestyle of addiction.
  5. You tell them that they don’t need professional addiction counseling. Have you ever told a friend or family member that they don’t need to seek treatment for their addiction but internally doubted your own advice?

Family Involvement in Treatment

At Infinity Malibu, we believe that the family is a key source of support during recovery. By involving your family or significant other in individual or multiple family group sessions, we can help you reduce the risk of relapse and find lasting sobriety. Call (888) 266-9048 to learn more about our comprehensive approach to addiction treatment.

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