How do I stop enabling?

If you have a loved one who is battling an addiction, you may have heard that you are enabling their addiction. But how do you tell if you’re being an enabler or if you’re just trying to help? Also, how do you stop being an enabler if you discover that you are?

Firstly, it is critical to understand the distinction between enabling and helping. If you understand that you are an enabler, you can explore some practical advice and examples of how to stop enabling someone who is battling an addiction. It may be helpful to remember that you can’t change other people but you can change your behaviours and reactions towards those people.

Here are seven practical ways to stop enabling today:

Stop actions that allow the behaviour to continue:

Are you paying some of the bills that your loved one would be paying if it they hadn’t lost their job or missed time from work due to their addiction? If so, you could be enabling by providing them with a safety net that encourages them to not work without facing consequences.

Stop doing things that they can do themselves:

If your loved one cannot drive, giving them a lift to recovery meetings or a job interview is helping, not enabling. Helping them can be a way of supporting their recovery efforts.

On the other hand, looking up the schedule of recovery meetings in the area or searching for employment opportunities for them are examples of enabling. These are actions that your loved ones should be doing for themselves.

Don’t overtake responsibilities:

Do you find yourself picking up some of the jobs around the house that your loved one used to do prior to their addiction? Or have you taken on parenting responsibilities that used to be shared between two?

If you are doing anything that the person would otherwise be doing if they were sober, you are enabling them to avoid their responsibilities.

Don’t loan money:

If you are loaning money to a loved one that is battling an addiction you are enabling. No matter what they may say they plan to do with the money, when you provide it to them you are ultimately allowing them to buy the substance they are addicted to.

Don’t rescue them from legal trouble:

Rushing to save a loved one from legal trouble may feel like the right thing to do. However, it only enables the person to evade the consequences of their actions. By giving them the easy way out of legal trouble, your loved one never gets to feel the pain of their own mistakes.

Don’t React:

If you react negatively to your loved ones latest mistake, you enable them the opportunity to have an emotional outing. Instead, stay calm and avoid having an emotional reaction to the situation so that your loved one is left with nothing to respond to except their own actions.

Set boundaries and stick to them:

By saying, “If you don’t quit drinking, I will leave!” is an ultimatum and a threat, but saying, “I will not have drinking in my home” is setting a boundary. You can’t control whether someone quits drinking or not, but you can decide what kind of behaviour you will accept or not accept in your life. Setting boundaries is something  that you do for your own benefit, not to try to control another person’s behaviour.

Get help at Tabor Group

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to Alcohol, Drugs, or Gambling get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today at +353 (21) 488 7110 or Email Us and we can help you With the right support, you’ll never have to make another uneducated life and death decision for your addicted loved one again.