Having a friend or loved one who deals with an addiction of some kind is difficult. It’s frighteningly common, as 19.7 million Americans battled a substance disorder of some kind in 2017 alone. You may want to help them break free from it, but you do not want to hurt or upset them in the process.

At the same time, if you are too soft and defend your colleague’s actions too much, you may find that their addiction is not improving at all. In fact, you might find that their addiction is becoming worse and their actions may lead to worse consequences, not only for the addict in question, but for you and other friends.

But how can you find the balance, and how can you see whether you are helping or actually enabling your friend’s addiction?

Excuses, Excuses

One of the worst things you can allow is for your alcoholic friend to make excuses; or even worse, make excuses for them. If you simply accept that they are still feeding into their addiction while they tell you they are “trying their best”, you are letting them give in to their weaknesses and not encouraging them to get stronger or try harder.

Making excuses for them is even worse—you are essentially telling them that their addiction is okay and that you support it. It only reinforces their addiction, rather than help you break them away from it.

When helping someone break free from an addiction, you will more than likely argue with them and upset them when you are helping them. But to help with their recovery, you may have to accept the possibility of doing so and ultimately help them in the end.

Feeding and Providing for an Addiction

It’s one thing to allow a friend or family member to feed into their own addictions by allowing them to continue buying drugs and alcohol with little to no intervention, but have you ever helped them and bought the products of their addiction for them?

It’s easy to feel bad for your friend dealing with withdrawal from an addiction and want to help them buy just one bottle or pack for them. Doing this will only enable them. You have to be willing to break them from their addiction, even if it means watching them through difficult times.

Rather than fueling their addiction, however, consider acting more as emotional support for your friend, helping them through recovery, or distracting them with other activities.

Ignoring Your Own Needs

One common trait of a person who is enabling their friend or family fighting an addiction is how little they take care of themselves compared to the victim. They may often be self-sacrificing, not worrying about their safety or health so they can assist the victim.

The saying “Before you help others, you must first help yourself” is quite applicable here, as you cannot expect for one broken and hurt individual to be able to fully help another. Keep yourself in good health, watch your emotional health, and know your limits.

You may find that a healthier you could help a broken friend or family member fight an addiction much more efficiently.

Are You Enabling an Addict?

If you are having trouble helping a friend or loved one through an addiction, consider contacting your local Tennessee alcohol or drug addiction program, or read into Discovery Place’s own recovery programs in Burns, Tennessee. You can also reach us at 1-800-725-0922.

Testimonials

  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
    Alumni
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
    Alumni
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
    Alumni
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham
    Alumni

    Thinking About Rehab?

    Learn More About Our Alternative Residential Recovery Programs

    Alternative Drug & Alcohol Treatment Rehab
    Talk to someone about your options

    Talk to someone about your options