Enabling an Addict
Many times when family and friends try to "help" addicts, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.
This baffling phenomenon is called "enabling", which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect, allowing the addict to avoid the consequences of their actions. This in turn allows the addict to continue merrily along their addictive ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how far they sink, somebody will always be there to rescue them.
What is the difference between "helping" and "enabling"?
There are many opinions and viewpoints on this, but here is a simple description:
Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing for themselves. Simply, enabling creates an atmosphere in which the addict can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior.
Are You an Enabler?
Here are a few questions that might help determine the difference between helping and enabling an addict in your life:
Have you ever "called in sick" for the addict; lying about their symptoms?
Have you accepted part of the blame for their addictive behavior?
Have you avoided talking about their addiction out of fear of their response?
Have you bailed them out of jail or paid for their legal fees?
Have you paid bills that they were supposed to have paid themselves?
Have you loaned them money?
Have you tried drinking or using drugs with them in hopes of strengthening the relationship?
Have you given them "one more chance" and then another and another?
Have you threatened to leave and didn't?
Have you finished a job or project that the addict failed to complete them?
Don't blame yourself. Addiction is a disease. It's not your fault.