5 Tips to stop enabling an addict
Now that you’ve recognized behaviors that work to propel the cycle of addiction onward, you probably wondering: “How can I stop equipping an addict?” Read these 5 expert tips on how to be supportive without being an enabler.
Tips To Stop Enabling An Addict
1. Find professional resources for yourself and the addict.
You realize that change needs to happen. Great! However, it isn’t just your loved one that needs help; you need it too.
Encourage the addict to go to a drug and alcohol center to get clean, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. There are groups for family members of addicts that you should start going to. Al-Anon, Friends of Alcoholics, and others have a sole purpose of educating, encouraging and empowering the people who love addicts. As you move forward with your plan to stop enabling you will need support from people who understand your frustrations and challenges.
2. You may have to cut the addict off.
As you invest in your health and well-being by talking to a professional therapist or psychiatrist, don’t be surprised if you receive advice to cut support off cold turkey. You may think that you’re betraying the addict by placing a grinding halt to paying his/her bills and being the twenty-four hour a day personal-care assistant. Stop thinking that way.
Understand a fact known by every expert addiction researcher, interventionist, and substance abuse clinician; As long as you’re providing financial support to an addict, he/she will continue supporting their habit.
3. There is a thin line between being love and enabling.
To love someone means that you stand behind them and support them through every life challenge or problem – right?
Not exactly. Think back to the last time you learned a valuable lesson that shaped the way you view the world and live your life today. How did you gain the knowledge that made you stronger and more resilient in both your professional and personal life?
Chances are, you worked really hard to get where you are, know what you know, and do what you do. There are no hand-outs, quick-fixes or cookie-cutter solutions to “getting your life together.” You just have to buckle down, do the work and make it happen.
If you’re enabling an addict, you’re not allowing him/her to reach their potential. Let them struggle. By doing so, you love them the most.
4. Don’t back down.
Your loved one will scoff at the decisions you’re making that go against your previous tolerant and permissive actions. Brace yourself to be insulted, threatened and bullied when you stop encouraging an addict. After all, up to this point, you’ve been fueling the fire, and now you’ve put it out!
You can encourage your loved one to go to AA and SMART Recovery meetings if they rebuff the idea of a detox and residential setting. Tell him/her to see a specialist that focuses on addiction, hold their hand during the appointment, and say things like, “You’re so brave for seeing the therapist today.”
Plant seeds of hope and remind them that they can be sober.
5. Trust the process.
In the short-term, life will get harder for both you and your loved one when you follow the 5 tips to stop empowering an addict. In the long run, however, it will become crystal clear that you will not allow the cycle of empowering to continue. Your family member will exhaust other resources and have to decide whether to sink further down the addiction landslide or grab onto the hand offering hope, promise, and life.
Remember – you are not a magician, and if you had a magic wand to make your loved one think, feel or behave differently you would have used it months or years ago. You can’t make an addict want to stop using. You can stop permitting. You’ll need to be patient and allow yourself permission to make mistakes along the way.
If someone you love is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or if you need help to stop enabling an addict, call one of our dedicated admissions consultants at Landmark Recovery. We have a comprehensive detox and inpatient drug rehab program that teaches addicts recovery tools that are practical for “real life.” Tomorrow is too late. We’re waiting for your call right now.