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6 Ways to Stop Enabling an Addict in Your life

Two people discussing ways to stop enabling an addict

If you know someone struggling with addiction, you likely know how difficult it can be to talk with them about their habits. It can also be hard to discuss with those around you what is happening with your loved one. You may feel you need to keep all of their business private to shield them from criticism. Bills, responsibilities, and routines may also fall on your plate to handle since they are gripped by addiction. Finding ways to stop enabling addiction can help you find relief from these burdens and help your loved one find the addiction treatment they need.

Northpoint Seattle has addiction resources to help you and your loved ones. If you are still unsure how to approach the person you care about regarding their struggles with drugs or alcohol, give our team a call at 888.483.6031. We can help you understand what is happening and how you can help. Let’s consider ways to stop enabling addiction.

What Is Enabling?

Many people don’t realize they are enabling someone with an addiction because they believe they are helping. However, enabling actually perpetuates the addiction by taking away the negative consequences that should come as a result of using drugs or alcohol.

Enabling can look like many different things. Some examples include:

Ignoring the Problem

You might choose to pretend that everything is fine and ignore the issue at hand, possibly due to a sense of denial or fear of the consequences of addressing their addiction. This hesitation to confront the problem can stem from various reasons, such as uncertainty about how to approach the situation or concerns about the individual’s reaction.

Making Excuses

You might find yourself making excuses for their frequent absences, continuous tardiness, or declining performance at work or school. It’s common to rationalize these behaviors by attributing them to a challenging period or a temporary phase they are experiencing.

Hiding Their Addiction

You may find yourself attempting to conceal their addiction by hiding their drugs or alcohol in discreet places, covering up for them with lies, or coming up with justifications for their behavior. This behavior might stem from feelings of embarrassment, fear of consequences, or a desire to shield them from facing the repercussions of their actions.

Doing Things for Them

You may find yourself frequently taking on tasks that they should handle independently, like calling in sick on their behalf, making excuses for their actions, or even tidying up after them. Often, this behavior stems from a sense of empathy toward them or a desire to shield them from experiencing hardship.

How to Stop Enabling an Addict

Below are six ways you can stop enabling an addict in your life:

1. Set Boundaries with Them

One effective approach to cease enabling an individual struggling with addiction is by establishing clear boundaries in your interactions with them. These boundaries involve explicitly defining the actions and support you are willing to provide and those you are not. It is crucial to maintain consistency in upholding these boundaries, even during challenging moments, to reinforce a healthier dynamic and encourage positive change.

2. Don’t Make Excuses for Them

Another crucial way to stop enabling an addict is by refraining from making excuses on their behalf. It involves taking responsibility for their actions and supporting them through accountability measures. By setting clear boundaries and encouraging healthy behaviors, you can help them break free from the cycle of addiction.

3. Don’t Hide their Addiction

You need to avoid shielding or concealing their addictive behavior. It is crucial to openly acknowledge and address the addiction issue without downplaying its severity. Furthermore, refraining from justifying or rationalizing their actions can help establish clear boundaries and encourage accountability.

4. Don’t Do Things for Them

Another effective approach to cease enabling an individual struggling with addiction is by refraining from taking on tasks that they should be handling themselves. By encouraging them to assume responsibility for their own life and avoiding actions that enable their dependency, you empower them to develop self-reliance and accountability in their recovery journey.

5. Help Them Get Treatment

A good way to stop enabling an individual struggling with addiction is to actively support them in accessing professional treatment services. This involves not only motivating them to pursue assistance but also providing unwavering emotional support and guidance when they decide to take that crucial step towards seeking help.

6. Take Care of Yourself

You need to prioritize self-care. This involves recognizing and addressing your own needs as a priority. Additionally, it entails establishing a reliable support system to guide you through the challenges you may face during this trying period.

Find Addiction Help at Northpoint Seattle

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, we can help. At Northpoint Seattle, we offer a variety of addiction resources, including outpatient treatment programs. We also provide several support groups and services to help you through this difficult time. To learn more about our addiction resources, call us at 888.483.6031 today or use our online contact form.