Do you know someone suffering from addiction in the greater Suwanee area?
Addiction is never an easy thing to face, especially for friends and family. They may not understand the addiction, but they want to help in any way they can.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help the ones you love, far from it. The problem lies on the fine line between helping and enabling.
Most people don’t even realize that they’re actually enabling addiction, instead of helping. This often stems more from a lack of understanding than any real malice. That doesn’t change the fact that they often end up doing more harm than good.
This guide will help you learn the difference, so you can give your loved ones the help they truly need.
Where You’re Going Wrong
There’s one key thing to remember when dealing with someone else’s addiction. The addict has to want to change. When others around them are enabling addiction, there’s often no reason to.
There Are No Consequences
No one wants to see a loved one suffer, so they often hide or cover for the addict’s bad behavior. Making up excuses for outbursts, covering for missed school or work time, and even preventing jail time for serious crimes don’t help anyone. This behavior only harms (and costs) you, and teaches the addict that their actions are fine.
There’s Too Much Support, or the Wrong Kind
While addicts do need love and support to help them beat their addiction, it has to be the right kind and at the right time.
For example: You might offer them a place to stay for a couple days. If it’s in order to get them out of an enabling or bad environment and into rehab, that’s fine. A standing offer of this nature, however, can be bad.
If they always have a place to crash whenever things get bad, why should they make themselves better?
There’s Too Much Access to the Wrong Things
If you like a drink now and then but live with someone struggling with alcohol addiction, you’re just adding fuel to the fire if you keep booze around.
On the other hand, the access may be to things you wouldn’t normally consider as an issue. Money, valuables, and credit cards can all be used or stolen to fuel their addiction. While leaving these things unsecured and accessible isn’t quite as bad as buying them their drug of choice yourself, it’s pretty close.
Carrying the Wrong Emotional Burdens
Family members often suffer a range of emotions, from guilt, worry, sadness, fear to desperation and even denial. While these emotions may be normal, they can lead to unintentional enabling.
How You Can Stop Enabling Addiction
The road to recovery is going to be tough on the addict, and you have to be too. It may seem harsh, but in the long run, it’s actually going to be kinder.
- Let the Consequences Come. Whether it’s lost wages, lost housing, or jail time for illegal activities, you have to let the addict face these realities. The thought of going to jail or losing everything can sometimes be enough to spark the desire for change.
- Do Support the Right Way. Instead of offering money or a place to stay, offer to pay for Outpatient Treatment. Go to meetings and counseling sessions. Offer moral, mental, and emotional support. Be the shoulder for them to cry on and the ear for them to talk to. Just don’t offer to make things easy for them. Be the shoulder for them to cry on and the ear for them to talk to. Just don’t offer to make things easy for them.
- Set (Healthy) Boundaries. Set boundaries, and don’t give them access to things they could conceivably steal for money. If you must help them, set stipulations. For example: If they’re asking for money to cover the rent and you agree, consider paying the rent physically yourself. This way you know your money is going towards what it’s supposed to. Make sure they know the terms of the deal, as well. Whether it’s a one-time thing only or it’s contingent on going to a meeting or whatever you choose, stick to it.
- Dump the Emotional Baggage. It’s not helping you, and it’s not helping them. Focus on things that will help them recover, instead.
When They’re Ready, So Are We.
We can help you understand more about addiction, and help you find help for your loved ones. If you are located in Cumming Georgia, Peachtree City area, the surrounding areas, or have questions in general, please contact us with any questions or concerns you might have.