24/7 Admissions Hotline +1-866-916-3211

5 Surprising Ways You May be Enabling an Addict Without Meaning To

Thursday, July 18, 2019 | By Ardent

How to Support a Loved One's Addiction Recovery

Table Of Contents

Enabling an addict means removing the natural consequences of an addict’s behavior. Most people equate this with unintentionally helping them stay addicted, actions like repeatedly bailing their loved ones out of jail or handing them cash. But if you’re helping your loved ones in other ways, you may be indirectly enabling them without realizing it. Here are some signs that your attempts to “help” are causing more harm than good and what you can do about it.

1. You Lie to Protect the Addict

It’s common for family and friends of addicts to lie for their loved ones because they believe they’re buying their loved one some time to get their act together. Family will call in sick on their loved one’s behalf, for example, reasoning that “he messed up, but he doesn’t deserve to lose his job over it.” This behavior, however well meaning, only enables the addict to continue using. Instead of getting written up or fired from his job for not showing up, the addict now has a reprieve from the natural consequences of his or her behavior. This prolongs the disease and delays the recovery process.

2. You make excuses for the addict’s behavior

This is a tricky enabling behavior because the symptoms and causes of addiction aren’t always cut and dry. It can be hard to say, in certain cases, that your loved one absolutely has an addiction. This can cause doubt and a gray area that can cause friends and family members to question their instincts. He’s just gong through a rough time, they’ll tell others and themselves. He’s been acting different but he swears he hasn’t relapsed. He says its just stress.

3. You avoid confronting the addict about their addiction

Confronting an addict isn’t easy. Those with a substance abuse disorder are often in denial about their addiction and will react defensively, lashing back at their accusers in angry and hurtful ways. But by avoiding potentially uncomfortable conversations, you’re ensuring the addict continues on the same destructive path. If you love or care for this person, speak up to him about it, no matter how difficult or painful having that conversation may be.

4. You think your loved one is “just going through a phase”

Addiction isn’t a phase; it’s a life-long disease that can only be managed through abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Once someone has made the transition from a “recreational” drinker/user to someone who is physically, mentally and emotionally dependent on the substance (or substances), there is no going back. There is no cure.

5. You think the addiction will go away on its own

Like most diseases, addiction does not go away without proper treatment. In fact, if it’s not addressed and interrupted, it’ll likely only worsen. Although confronting the problem head on and forcing your loved one to attend 12-step meetings or check into a drug or alcohol rehab can be emotionally, financially and logistically difficult, doing nothing and hoping the problem will resolve itself is wishful thinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

  • Discovery Transitions changed my life!! Great food, great staff, wonderful place! Awesome to get to know the amazing clients and see that i was not alone in my recovery. I made friends for life in the short time i got to spend there. Not a better facility anywhere in my opinion!!The team of employees, from the Technicians all the way up to the Owner, all have a patient first mentality.

    Leto M

  • Going to treatment at Discovery Transitions was one of the best programs I've participated in, they helped me get my life back. They have amazing staff and overall good-natured people. They focus on all aspects of counseling, case management, meetings, different types of therapy, including trauma, one on one counseling. This is coming from someone who has been traumatized and neglected. They helped me get to the root of the problem. Which most times can feel very uncomfortable but they provide groups that you participate in and communicate with other addicts and hear their life stories. They really are an organization of team working to help heal the conflicted minds of us addicts that we faced every day. I would highly recommend this treatment program to anyone suffering from substance abuse or mental health.

    Skyy S

Latest Articles

  • Managing Holiday Stress without Compromising your Sobriety

    Managing Holiday Stress without Compromising your Sobriety

    Attending a festive family gathering where everyone is toasting away holiday stress can be agonizing for those in recovery. Stress of any kind can accelerate the relapse process, and the winter holidays can provide not only the stress of shopping, cr

  • Childhood Trauma Linked to Understanding Drug Addiction

    Childhood Trauma Linked To Understanding Drug Addiction

    As medical experts and substance abuse professionals continue their quest for understanding drug addiction, they have discovered a link with childhood trauma. Research shows that children who suffer traumatic events not only have a higher chance of d

  • substance abuse intensive outpatient program

    Johnny Manziel seeking Treatment for Alcoholism

    Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, popularly known as “Johnny Football,” has entered rehab for alcohol problems. Manziel, who was the youngest freshman to receive the Heisman Trophy, has had alcohol-related troubles in the past, but mor

  • The Cycle of Addiction

    The Cycle of Addiction

    The ability of alcohol and drugs to strongly activate brain reward mechanisms is the primary catalyst in the cycle of addiction. But there are also certain risk factors and characteristics leading a person toward alcohol and drugs in ways which can c

  • Dealing With Death Without Turning to Drugs or Alcohol

    If ever there were a time when we want to ease our pain, it is when we are dealing with death. Losing a family member, friend, even a pet, is one of the most difficult challenges we face, and the temptation to turn to quick fixes is high. The appeal

  • Negative Emotions Can Compromise Your Sobriety

    A growing body of evidence supports what many therapists know from experience: patients with a fighting spirit have a better chance of recovery than those who surrender to their addiction. There is solid evidence on how negative emotions and mental a

  • Family Therapy Drug Rehab Los Angeles

    Emotional Sobriety is Equally Important as Physical Sobriety

    Physical sobriety and emotional sobriety are two parts to a single unit in living a life free of alcohol and drug abuse. Physical sobriety means more than putting down the drink or refusing to pick up the drug. In other words, it means more than abst

  • intensive outpatient therapy los angeles california

    Battling Addiction: Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Programs

    Addiction treatment centers offer various types of drug recovery therapies that include inpatient services and outpatient services. The nature of an individual’s drug dependence and circumstances helps addiction specialists determine what type of t

  • Family Therapy Drug Rehab Los Angeles

    The Power of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

    When people think about drug and alcohol treatment, they usually picture a stay at a residential rehab facility. While an inpatient substance abuse program may offer the best chance of success for individuals with a severe addiction or an unstable h

  • intensive outpatient alcohol treatment los angeles california

    Intensive Outpatient Therapy for Addiction: Does It Work?

    Addiction is a multi-faceted disease that requires comprehensive treatment. Residential inpatient rehab is generally the preferred option among drug and alcohol addiction specialists. However, many substance abusers prefer to engage in outpatient tre


This time today, you or your loved one could be in treatment. Get help now!

We Are Here To Help 24/7