Families do everything they can to help their loved ones succeed, no matter what obstacles may rise to meet them.
One such obstacle is substance abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, as much as you want to help your loved one who is dealing with this, you could end up doing more harm than good. How so?
In many cases, family members end up enabling instead of helping the one dealing with the addiction. It is imperative to the health and wellbeing of everyone involved you determine whether you’re enabling the addiction.
Recognize the Signs: 3 Signs You’re Enabling Instead of Helping
Enabling addiction isn’t always easy to spot. Oftentimes, it can feel like you’re helping your loved one. Regrettably, those who enable someone with drug addiction can end up making the issue worse leading to a life of codependency, stress, and even more addiction.
Here are three ways to recognize whether your actions are enabling a person with addiction instead of helping them.
1. Being in Denial about the Addiction
No one wants to believe their close friend or family member is addicted to a dangerous substance. Even when confronted with proof their loved one is abusing drugs, it’s easy to deny it. It seems so unbelievable and it’s such an emotionally charged issue people will continue to deny it even years down the road.
Signs of denial include:
- Refusing to believe your loved one has a problem
- Making excuses for them, saying things like “they’re just going through a phase”
- Convincing yourself their problem isn’t big enough to warrant getting help
- Thinking other people are attacking your loved one when they point out the addiction
2. Taking Over Their Responsibilities
Addiction can completely envelop a person, making it difficult for them to function from day-to-day. The result is they end up failing to take care of their responsibilities.
Sometimes, family members will take over their loved one’s responsibilities to cover for them. They don’t want them to get in trouble or be viewed in a negative light. When this happens, they can end up taking over a variety of tasks and projects including:
- Chores around the house
- Family responsibilities, like picking up their children or helping with homework
- Paying their bills, running errands for them
- Doing their homework
- Doing their work, depending on the type of work
3. Taking Responsibility for the Abuse
Making excuses for your loved one’s abuse or putting the blame on yourself doesn’t do them any good. In fact, it usually compounds the problem. You’re not holding them responsible for their actions. Because you feel responsible, you’re more likely to be lenient, which can make it more difficult for them to recognize there’s a real problem which needs to be addressed.
Put an End to the Vicious Cycle and Give Your Loved One the Help They Need
It isn’t uncommon for families to want to be the main source of assistance to a loved one struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, this can create a vicious cycle of codependency, resentment, and further abuse.
Thankfully, this isn’t the way it has to be for you and your family. When you get help from an outside source, like NAD in Georgia, you’re setting your loved one up for success.
Getting help from trained professionals shouldn’t make you feel like a failure. Going this route is often best for everyone involved, and usually has a better success rate than trying to go things alone.
If you and your family feel bound by the shackles of substance addiction, don’t keep trying to come up with a solution on your own. Seek assistance so you can end the addiction cycle and give your family a bright beacon of hope for the future.