However, it is actually detrimental to their wellbeing in the long run, as you are removing the negative consequences of their behaviors. Thus, you are unintentionally reinforcing your adult child’s drug use.

But it can be hard to know how to do that when you are used to getting involved. Getting Along is a column about taking care of yourself, setting boundaries, and having difficult conversations, for people who struggle with all three. Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.

The Male Friendship Crisis

More often than not, these cycles of enabling have several negative effects on the rest of the family. An addicted parent coming and going at all hours, for example, could hamper a child’s ability to get consistent rest before school. Peace Valley Recovery seeks to heal individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction through building a bridge to a peaceful and purposeful life. The caretaker is one of the two family roles that most directly enable the addict.

  • If you react negatively, you are giving them an emotional out.
  • Being a parent doesn’t necessarily make someone a good problem solver.
  • Treatment focuses on bringing awareness to any unresolved conflicts and how they impact the patient’s life.
  • Enabling occurs when the friends and family of a substance user support the addiction through their thoughts or behaviors.
  • It’s paramount that any previous enabler understands the negative effects of their actions.
  • At Family First Intervention, we are dedicated to assisting families as they end toxic relationships and start down the road of recovery.

They stand between the person and seeking proper help to enter recovery, but they are not doing this to be spiteful. This is where the excuses come from, where the enabling comes from. You know that the individual left late on a Sunday, or didn’t come to the wedding that they were already RSVP’d to, because they’re seeking another high. Apart from allowing them to get out of this obligation with no effort towards stopping them, someone’s going to ask where your loved one is. At that point, the enabler is going to begin making up excuses for absent or tardy behavior on the part of the person. When you’re trying to hide the fact that someone in your family is using drugs, you’ll ignore the signs, such as withdrawn behavior, physical abnormalities, and mood changes.


It not only their behavior but it takes attention away from every other member of your family. Helping the addict is a process that involves your entire family, not just the person with the problem. Rehab for drug abuse is a lifelong commitment for an addict and their family. Family members must be cautious not to trigger a relapse through their actions.


Enabling refers to the act of eliminating another person’s responsibilities for their actions. An addict who is being enabled will be able to avoid consequences and be unable to see the true extent of the damage being caused by their addiction. A codependent parent may feel a sense of responsibility and guilt if they don’t enable their child, but this will only prolong the suffering that a child will endure. You blame yourself, or others, or other situations, but never your child. Being a parent, you may blame yourself for your son or daughter’s drug use. You may place the blame elsewhere, in efforts to protect your child from the stigma and shame that addiction often bears.

Adult Children Need Empowerment, Not Enabling

Butch worked for one of the state’s first intensive outpatient programs in Jackson, TN and the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism. During this time, he developed two pilot addiction programs in the Greater West Tennessee area. Butch also maintained a private practice, specializing in family of origin work and addiction populations. Helping an addict means making some difficult choices in your life in regard to what you will and will not do for them. You can help them get treatment for their addiction, for example.

THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information contained on this website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon as, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Our Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs in Massachusetts

You will be more effective in empowering the addict to be able to solve their own problems in regard to their substance abuse. You can guide them through the process of finding help by showing them how to access appropriate resources. Take a deep breath and tell the addict that you cannot continue to support their behavior.

Understanding the Origins and How to Heal From Codependency – Pharmacy Times

Understanding the Origins and How to Heal From Codependency.

Posted: Thu, 01 Dec 2022 08:00:00 GMT [source]

If your drug-related problems are severe or complicated, you may be referred to a residential rehabilitation service. Some people find support groups like Narcotics Anonymous helpful. Talking therapies, such as CBT, help you to see how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour. You’ll also be given a keyworker, who will support you throughout your treatment. They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment. With the right help and support, it’s possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.

Unfortunately, this basic desire to help can have the opposite affect when is involved. We try to help the people we love, but when your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the dynamic of your relationship can change. Enabling usually refers to patterns that appear in the context of drug or alcohol misuse and addiction. An enabler hiding from their own emotions is governed by fear. While this still doesn’t excuse their actions and can be a serious impediment for an individual seeking proper help, it’s another issue that needs to be addressed. In some cases, even after treatment, people can revert to their previous vices.

  • The same type of resentment can affect the entire family when all of the attention is directed toward an addict.
  • Dr. Sledge is a sought-after speaker in the industry, talking about the critical need to treat both the mind and body of those struggling with substance use disorder.
  • These issues may manifest as over involvement in another’s life and linking your own self-worth with your child’s successes and failures.
  • The incredible part of this instinct is it drives parents to protect their children regardless of their age.
  • Denying the issue can create challenges for you and your loved one.

You’ll have to redefine what supporting your loved one really means, and that may mean doing things that make your loved one upset. You’ll have to remember that even though they may get angry with you now, once they’re sober, they’ll thank you for truly caring for them. Here are a few tips to stop enabling and start getting your loved one the help they need. When someone becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs, they start behaving in ways that are completely different from how you knew them before. “Enabling is an act in which one’s behavior, though generally well-intended, further contributes to their addiction to alcohol or drugs,” Glowiak says. Sometimes, trying to help a family member who is addicted to alcohol or drugs actually winds up doing the opposite.

Are You Enabling a Loved One’s Addiction?

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Over time you become angrier and more frustrated with her and with yourself for not being able to say no. This resentment slowly creeps into your interactions with her kids. Say your sister continues to leave her kids with you when she goes out. You agree to babysit because you want the kids to be safe, but your babysitting enables her to keep going out.

How do you break the cycle of enabling?

The key to breaking the pattern of enabling is to return responsibility to the person it belongs to. This involves setting boundaries between yourself and your loved one. You can no longer attempt to take on responsibility for anyone else's actions but your own.

Second, the family begins to experience their own strengths and weaknesses rather than those of their loved one. The family becomes oriented to their own family system and internal regulators. While this can be painful, it will often ultimately reduce the anxiety the parents feel. Finally, the entire family system is able to life each other up on their own recovery process and support each other throughout life without sacrificing their own emotional stability and sanity. As your child explores living without drugs and alcohol, expect a change in your relationship with your son or daughter. Part of recovery is learning new coping behaviors that don’t involve using. In many cases, this can affect both your relationship with your adult child as well as shift overall family dynamics.