How Can Family Know if They Are Enabling a Loved One’s Addiction? 

How Can Family Know if They Are Enabling a Loved One’s Addiction? 

As a family member to loved ones who have an addiction, there is bound to be a lot to cope with, including mental health issues, relationship struggles, and economic challenges. To stay balanced and healthy feels almost impossible when a loved one is dealing with addiction. Enabling behaviors to start as a means to an end, a way of supporting the loved one, but may actually contribute to their downfall, eventually, because it keeps the cycle going. 

Money and Finances

Drug or alcohol addiction is not cheap. Even if someone steals pills or pilfers alcohol, they require more of the drugs to have the same effect. Trying to obtain the money by lying, stealing, or cheating (even gambling) can lock family into a position of feeling helpless to support a loved one. To that end, they end up giving money to support the habit without meaning to do it, just to support the person from losing housing, their job, and other things of value to them. A person may not intend to use the money for which it was given, but they take it to buy more drugs. This type of enabling is common, but only fuels the addiction, and leaves a lot of broken relationships within the family in its wake.

Lack of Accountability

Addiction has consequences, but only if they are felt. Many times, a person’s family may enable the person to alleviate the strain of drugs or alcohol, which limits their accountability. When they don’t feel consequences, they put themselves, and others, at greater risk. No matter what the reasons, when a person does not understand the harm they cause, the distance it has impacted their lives and they have less chance of fixing the situation. Lying to cover up for loved ones is common, or covering for an absence at parties, events, or work. Taking over parenting, household chores, budgeting, or other daily activities only keeps them in denial about their addiction and continues the behavior.

Enabling During Risk of Relapse

Sometimes family members get precariously close to the risky edge of relapse. The family may see it coming but struggle to stop it. Interactions and support can influence a person during this time more than anyone realizes. Mindfulness and resolve can help that person stay strong within recovery and focus. During recovery, it is easier for both the family and the loved one to not pay attention but this leads down a dangerous pathway. 

To avoid heading down the wrong way street with a loved one’s addiction, it is helpful to offer strength and courage through mental and spiritual support. This means telling them they are loved unconditionally but setting healthy boundaries. It may take therapeutic support to figure out what is happening, but family therapy is a great way to understand the dynamics and finally resolve the issues that may lead to getting the loved one the help they need.

Oceanfront understands the challenges of addiction recovery. We are here to support your journey to healing and are here to help you find your way. Our programs will support you in understanding addiction, doing therapy, and moving from addiction to hope. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295