How to Love an Addict Without Enabling

When your loved one has fallen to a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to know how to react. What should you say? What should you do?

You love them and watching them spiral out of control can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. While you may be tempted to come to their rescue, your actions could be making the problem worse. Are you enabling their addiction?

What Is Enabling?

Enabling refers to a codependent relationship where a person will allow someone to continue to perform poor behaviors without experiencing the full negative consequences of their actions. In regards to addiction, the enabler will let the addict continue their substance abuse problems. Often the enabler is in denial about the addict’s problem or wants to protect them. Consequently, the enabler may think they are helping, but in reality, there are many dangers of enabling drug addicts including making their addiction problem worse.

How to NOT Enable an Addict

There is a fine line between being supportive and enabling someone who struggles with substance abuse, and it can be hard to know when you have crossed that line. As luxury drug rehab in South Florida, we have seen the negative effects  of enabling in our patients, so we want to share some insight into how to love an addict without enabling them.

Learn The Difference Between Compassion & Enabling

You love them, so it is important to know when you are being compassionate and when you are starting to enable them, According to relationship and codependency expert as well as the author of Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency, Darlene Lancer explains that “Compassion is an expression of feeling. Enabling involves taking action and specifically, removing the consequences of a person’s irresponsible behavior; e.g. replacing broken items, paying bail and debts, calling in “sick” for the alcoholic, driving an alcoholic after his or her license has been suspended.” When your actions mitigate the addict’s negative consequences, you have crossed this line.

Find A Support Group or Family Therapy

You are not alone. There are plenty of other people out there who are dealing with a similar situation. By talking with those people, you will get a better understanding of how you should react because you will be able to learn from their mistakes and take a more objective perspective. At Seaside Palm Beach, we offer a family program for addiction in Palm Beach that addresses these dysfunctional family roles and how to move forward.

Set Boundaries & Rules

Knowing how to love an addict without enabling is about finding a balance between tough love and being supportive. When your loved one feels like they can do anything without having to face any consequences, why would they ever change their behavior? While it may be difficult, it is in their best interest that you set boundaries and most importantly, follow through with consequences when these boundaries are crossed.

We understand that you only want what is best for your loved one, so it is important that you know how to avoid enabling an addict and making their problems worse. If you are feeling lost, we may be able to help. With our Palm Beach addiction intervention services, we promote healing for both the family and the addicts. Call us today at 561-677-9374 to learn more.


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