“Enabling” is one of those words that can cause an intense emotional response from the loved ones of addicts. No one wants to be accused of enabling because few enablers think they’re doing anything more than “loving.”
Loved ones of addicts must accept that enabling is a real problem that can delay the addict from getting treatment. The more time spent in active addiction, the greater the chance the addict could get in trouble, hurt, or even killed.
Most, if not all, enabling behaviors come down to providing money or financial support to a person living in active addiction. Five common behaviors that the loved ones of addicts can avoid to ensure they don’t become enablers include:
1. Paying for a Cell Phone
Many enablers pay for cell phones for their loved ones, fearing they will lose contact with their loved ones if they don’t. If at all possible, this should be avoided. While it’s crucial that you go to great lengths to keep in contact with your loved ones, a cell phone is just one more way for them to arrange drug deals.
2. Providing Housing
The longer you pay their rent, the longer they can use any money they have to pay for drugs. If you let them live with you, the problem is the same. The money they would have spent on rent will go to support their habit instead, which just draws out active addiction even longer.
3. Giving them Money
This is perhaps the most obvious enabling behavior, but the means with which an addict will try to get money from you may not be. If they’re asking for cash for a medical bill, gas, food, clothing, or anything else, they are likely using that money to support their habit.
4. Paying for a Car
As is the case with paying for a phone, paying for a car may not seem like a bad idea, but it is. Any time an addict doesn’t have to pay for a major expense, they will have more money to spend on drugs. Cars can also be used to go to or facilitate drug deals.
5. Bailing them Out of Jail
Bailing a person out of jail enables that individual to continue avoiding the consequences of his or her actions. Jail may provide the necessary time and space away from drugs, allowing your loved one to seriously consider addiction treatment.
Supportive loved ones who aren’t enablers have two main qualities:
- They keep boundaries with the addict
- They support the addict in every other way that doesn’t facilitate drug use
Take loved ones out to dinner or coffee, keep in contact with them, and always be willing to help financially with treatment if at all possible.
Addiction Requires Treatment for the Disease it is
At the end of the day, treatment will save their life. The sooner they can get into treatment, the better off they will be. Serenity House Detox is an industry-leading drug detox center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that can help your loved one get better. Call us today to hear about detox and recovery for your loved one.