Addiction is not a solitary disease. When you love someone who is struggling with chemical dependency, you also carry the burden. One of the hardest things to face may be the fact that your support may be worsening your loved one’s addiction. If you’ve been enabling your loved one to continue with his or her addiction, stopping can be difficult. However, changing your enabling behavior may force your loved one to change as well. Here are ways in which you can ease your enabling tendencies and instead urge your loved one to face his or her substance abuseproblem.
Recognize Your Behavior
Just as your loved one may not be able to see his or her own addiction, you may not be able to see that you have been an enabler. Examine your own past behavior. Are you always there to bail your loved one out of a financial jam? Have you repeatedly forgiven transgressions such as stealing? Do you treat your addicted loved one like a child and “take care” of him? Anything you do to make it easier for your loved one to engage in substance abuse is enabling. As with addiction itself, only when you admit you have a problem can you start to make a change.
Decide where your boundaries are. Cut off financial support, refuse to allow drug use in your home, and don’t be available for legal woes or other addiction-related crises. Let your loved one know your new rules and tell them the ways in which you are willing to support them, such as helping them get substance abuse treatment.
Your loved one is unlikely to react well to your new boundaries, but stay strong. Remember that not enabling someone is an act of love. If you need help, find a support group for families of people with addiction.
When your loved one is ready to seek treatment for addiction, Aurora Behavioral Health Care at Las Encinas Hospital is here to help. We offer a range of chemical dependency programs and work to develop a personalized treatment plan for all of our patients. Investigate what we have to offer by visiting our website or calling (888) 348-2165.