Addiction affects not only individuals but their families, friends, and partnerships as well. When an individual is struggling with the challenges associated with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, it can be difficult to watch. Often, families want to do whatever they can to help their loved one overcome the negative effects of addiction.
Sometimes families may not know the right strategies. This can lead to enabling addiction rather than helping our loved ones defeat the withdrawal symptoms and overcome dependence altogether. For example, family and friends may give their hard-working money away, make excuses for them, or avoid the problem entirely to avoid conflict.
However, there are helpful strategies that individuals can practice to stop enabling addiction. Following them may help their loved one who is facing challenges with addiction without enabling them. It may be wise for some families to look into effective therapies to learn new strategies. Therapy can better help individuals learn the right tools to effectively provide the most support to their loved ones.
How Does Enabling Addiction Make One’s Case Worse?
It can be difficult to watch a loved one struggle with withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes the first thought may be to give their loved one anything they need to relieve them from distress. A family member or friend may hand their loved one money to intentionally let them use it towards their addiction. This may be done because they are unfamiliar with the right approaches to take or just want to stay out of it. Sometimes caregivers, friends, or family may be enabling their loved one without even knowing it.
As stated in Common Wealth of Kentucky: Department of Corrections, enabling means a person will strive to fix their loved ones’ problems by making the consequences disappear. However, constantly coming to the rescue only prolongs a person’s addiction. A person with addiction may say or do anything in their power to achieve their desired goals. This may result in lying.
For example, an individual with an addiction may ask someone if they can borrow money for groceries but, in turn, use it to support their addiction. An individual with addiction may ask for money and promise to pay the other back but then disappear. This can leave family members, friends, or families left taken advantage of.
A person facing problems with addiction may not know the severity of their actions because they are consumed in their cycle of dependency. They may be completely oblivious to their behaviors. This is where self-help strategies and professional help come in handy.
According to the National Centers for PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, enabling someone should be avoided entirely as it can make a person’s substance use disorder (SUD) worse or potentially increase their usage. It may be difficult to watch your loved one face the consequences, but it will gradually help that person stop using altogether.
Helping Without Enabling Addiction
If you truly love someone who is having issues with addiction, the right thing to do is stop enabling that person. Conforming to the aforementioned PTSD study, becoming aware of your behaviors may help the person you care about succeed. The first step is by learning to recognize the different ways you were enabling your loved one from the start. Once you figure out where you went wrong, the next step is to use different strategies to replace ineffective behaviors.
Different Strategies to Put Into Action to Prevent Enabling Addiction
Rewarding positive behaviors can be extremely effective. It is also okay to ignore your loved ones’ negative behaviors associated with their addiction. Setting boundaries and using tough love may help by allowing your loved one to face the consequences alone as a learning lesson. Asking for receipts or confirmation numbers after lending money can be a good idea. This may confirm your loved one is not putting it towards their addiction.
Enabling a loved one may feel more comfortable in the short term, but everyone involved may suffer the consequences in the long run. Other ways to support a loved one outside of placing boundaries can include:
- Participate in family therapy
- Take time to learn about your loved ones’ addiction
- Learn ways to communicate effectively
- Avoid using substances around them to avoid triggering a relapse
- Practice sober activities together
Moving Forward With Avalon Malibu
Using tough love along with professional treatment will ensure your loved one is safe and on the road to healing from addiction. Taking time to research a mental health facility that treats both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders may be a good start. A good way to show support is by participating in treatment alongside your loved one. Checking in by asking how your loved one is feeling will help them confide in you. This may encourage them to want to receive your generous assistance.
Avalon Malibu’s addiction recovery therapies and specific programs can provide successful outcomes. Therapy may include group psychotherapy, couples and family therapy, and more. We are happy to welcome families, friends, or partners involved in an individual’s life with SUD. Avalon Malibu can teach families healthy strategies to show support without enabling addiction. Our team takes time to understand addiction from all perspectives to help families support and better care for their loved ones.
When families enable their loved one’s addiction, their behavior can potentially make their condition worse. Learning new strategies in therapy can help individuals effectively show their loved ones the support they need to overcome addiction. Avalon Malibu Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Center is a California state-licensed residential addiction and mental health treatment center dedicated to the healing of adults experiencing substance use disorders as well as psychiatric and mental health issues. Our team applies a variety of methods that are proven effective, and as a result, we’ve helped hundreds of individuals recover successfully from addiction. If you are facing challenges with showing support, our team would be happy to help. Call Avalon Malibu at (844) 857-5992 today.