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7 Signs You Are Enabling Addiction And How To Stop

November 11, 2021

Sometimes, you might find yourself unknowingly enabling an addict. Being an enabler hinders the patient from achieving full recovery since it fuels the patient’s denial against their illness. As a result, their substance abuse disorder worsens as their treatment gets delayed.

Being an enabler poses numerous dangers for the enabler and the addict as well as the people around them. The enabler becomes partially responsible for the negative effects on the patient as their mental health declines and their condition worsens.

Signs You Are An Enabler

Ignoring Alarming Behavior

You may notice your loved one express shifty behavior such as sneaking out late at night, being extremely secretive of their activities, hanging out with a bad crowd, or more. Secretive behavior means that the patient may be at the threshold of addiction. This means that they feel shame about what they are doing which only pinpoints the gravity of their addiction or dependence.

When you see these red flags, especially if they are recurring, it is your responsibility to ensure that you put a stop to these. Sometimes, the patient needs external intervention because they are still in denial about their addiction. As such, you should intervene and get them the help that they need.

You Feel Resentment

Feeling resentful may be your knee jerk response when you find out that your loved one is nursing a drug addiction. When left untreated, this will build up into negative emotions that will manifest into the way you treat your loved one.

This will fuel the vicious cycle of addiction. You may resent the addict for not getting better, and they will be pushed deeper into their mental health issues which will fuel them to do more drugs as a sense of reprieve. The cycle of usage continues.

Another possibility is that you might try to hide your resentment which means that you will ignore or avoid the patient. This only worsens their condition as they deal with their solitude. They will self-medicate their mental illnesses with drugs or alcohol, which further delays their chance to get help and become better.

You need to understand that they are helpless against their disease, and they need love and compassion more than anything else. You need to take action and intervene before matters get worse.

Playing The Blame Game

You are an enabler if you choose to find someone to blame for the patient’s addiction, whether it’s themselves or another family member. The truth is that the root cause can never be pinpointed to one individual. Addictions arise from a multitude of factors, from mental illnesses to bad company.

Playing the blame game also pushes the patient further into the depths of addiction. This is also the behavior of someone who wants to keep their hands clean by staying in the good graces of the addict. Finding someone to blame is fruitless and will only delay recovery.

Covering Up For Them

If you find yourself covering up for your loved one by making excuses for their behavior or even lying on their behalf, then you are an enabler. You let them continue on their toxic cycles and you do not actively find ways to put an end to it.

You might also be covering up for them because you genuinely love them, but letting them continue down destructive paths isn’t love. It may be hard to turn them in or alert the rest of the family regarding their toxic behavior, but it is a must. You need to take control of the situation by encouraging them to come clean so that treatment may begin

You Are Unable To Express Emotions

Another way to enable an addict is by being vague or impartial about what you feel. You may be tempted to just opt out of the conversation or healing process. However, this is enabling since it is one less helpful and guiding voice that can redirect them to the path of healing.

There will come a time when the family needs to sit down together and talk about the glaring problem. If you choose to not participate or not say anything about the matter, then you are denying the patient help.

Being expressive is also helpful for relapse prevention. The more expressive you are about your negative sentiments on drugs, the less likely the patient will feel the urge to go back to using. As always, expressing your thoughts and feelings should be done with love, respect, and compassion. The patient is a friend, not an enemy.

Letting Fear Consume You

You may be tempted to protect an addict out of fear of what would happen to them. You may also be fearful that your relationship will be tarnished and you might lose them. However, your refusal to act against fear may still cost you your relationship in the end. They will continue sustaining their addiction for as long as you stay fearful.

You Prioritize Them

Patients must be prioritized, but there are limits. For example, you are not supposed to lend them money when you know that they will spend it on harmful substances. This is equivalent to condemning you and others around you. Prioritizing the addict’s harmful habits may also be a way of avoiding confrontation. Some people may feel that it is the easier way out, which is why they enable it.

What To Do If You Are An Enabler

These signs should help you determine if you are an enabler or not. If you are, then it is time for some serious action to help your loved one get better. Start by talking to the rest of the family so that they will likewise be self-aware on whether they are enablers or not.

Use our guidelines and take a long, hard look at yourself and your relationship with the addict in question. Be honest in your assessment. Are you an enabler? If so, then the next step is to proceed with recovery. Contact R&R Recovery for treatment options.

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