They say love is what makes the world go around right? Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To love somebody isn’t just a strong feeling. It’s a decision, a judgment and a promise. When we love our friends, family, or significant others, we are sharing a piece of ourselves with them. It comes easily for some, but for others- they must be picky and choosy with whom they allow into their hearts. You have to trust the person you love, or love only people you can trust.
Trust makes love tricky. We latch onto the people we love and want nothing but the best for them. That’s why when it comes to our friends in addiction and alcoholism, all we want to do is help them get through this disease and onto the other side. Unfortunately, it’s hard to set boundaries when love is involved. Enabling addiction becomes easier than we would’ve ever realized.
When enabling addiction, we are not only disregarding their doings but also making it easier for our loved one to continue their destructive ways. Regardless if intentions are generally pure, we often do things we think are proactive or helping out but are usually opening up doors for the addict in question. Being aware of these things and putting a foot in that doorway can be the distinction between life and death in some instances.
The Problem With Enabling
When dealing with our loved ones struggling in addiction, knowing when to hold our ground and firmly say “no” can make all the difference in the world. Most addicts/alcoholics in active usage are in denial about how severe their dependence or drug related tendencies have gotten. It’s on us as their biggest supporters to be there for them, but to be of utmost carefulness that we aren’t enabling addiction in our methods to help them. It can be so tiring. When dealing with an addict, it seems like they are always a few steps ahead. They have an excuse or justification for everything they do, but we cannot let that be enough to just pave the way for them. Some of the signs we might see if we’re accidentally enabling addiction include:
- Overlooking certain negative behaviors
- Holding emotions back/how we truly feel
- Putting their needs before our own
- Lying to others to cover conduct
- Resenting our addict for how we help them
As exhausting as the lies, manipulation, and deceit get, ignoring these harmful behaviors will only make things worse. Yes everybody has to live their own lives and nobody can do it for them, but overlooking their destructive ways can be even more dangerous; still enabling addiction in the end. Kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t- that addiction though. Being on top of it and attempting to keep up with them could/would wear anybody thin. It would bring frustration out of anybody. Yet, growing resentment toward this person won’t solve anything. Aggravation may rise, but it’s important to remember it’s out of love. Not acting on this resentment and treating everything as it should be is really key here. By resenting them, we are giving them power even if it doesn’t seem like it. We forget at times how sick an addict in active addiction can be. They need healthy supportive mindsets around them.
Being this healthy support also means not holding back. After a few angry outbursts and unpleasant conversations, we start reeling back some of the things that we want to say to the addict. We slowly but surely begin walking on eggshells afraid to say or do the wrong thing in anticipation of an unwanted reaction. This is no good. We must express ourselves and continuously do so. Understandably, nobody wants to be labeled a particular way; especially if it’s in a negative light and/or they disagree with it. Sometimes the truth is heavy, but by withholding our thoughts and opinions we are always enabling addiction. They need to hear right from wrong, regardless whether they want to come to terms with it or not.
Addicts and alcoholics will do the same things over and over and over and never recognize or care of the harm it’s causing. Fate is going to happen one way or another. Even if we can do everything in our power to help, they ultimately control their fate in the end despite any of our efforts to guide it.
Holding the addict in question accountable is one of the best things we can do for them. As we they find themselves digging hole after hole, they will continue to find consequence after consequence. Covering their behaviors in many ways are a few sure signs of enabling addiction. One person can only get in so much trouble right? Left.
As the boat begins flooding, we usually attempt to help bail water out. This can be through trying to prevent more problems from appearing, by blaming others for whatever ugly situation it is that has transpired(even though our loved one clearly caused it), or simply by driving yourself into the ground just trying to hold them above water when they’re perfectly capable of swimming themselves.
These are all indications that some form of manipulation has taken over and that we are enabling addiction. This is what addiction wants and this is what addiction does. This is not your loved ones choosing necessarily. Even so, this doesn’t have to be the case. Having them clean their own mistakes off the floor while keeping ourselves near at bay is really the best. It may be hard taking a step back, but the emotional blindfold we provide may be what’s stopping them from moving forward in the end. Rock bottom can’t be achieved if we keep softening the landing.
At Just Believe Recovery Center, we offer all inclusive programs, tailored to each individuals needs. If you or a loved one is struggling please give us a call at 888-340-0342. Recovery is just a phone call away