Drug and alcohol addiction is never beneficial–whether for the addict or the people they love. Not only does it encourage poor habits, but supporters of addicts often end up becoming victims of abuse.
So why do they enable their addictive tendencies rather than help break them? The truth is that great fear comes with facing addictions. A wife may worry about destroying her relationship with her husband. A child may fear physical or emotional abuse. Some friends may worry about losing the friend they once knew.
But despite trying to prevent this, many victims will still suffer the brunt of their loved one’s addiction. They will struggle with sleepless nights, not knowing if they are doing the right thing.
However, there are ways to stop encouraging an addict’s tendencies and even guide them towards recovery. They may not come without sacrifices but can ensure a healthier and happier life for both the addict and everyone around them.
When approaching any problem, it is important to inform and educate yourself on the topic as much as possible. Drug and alcohol addiction is no exception, and in fact, will require some expertise.
The more you know and understand about drug addiction, the better you can handle the situation. By having the facts, you will be able to provide an objective point of view to the addict you have been enabling. You can learn through resources such as therapy sessions, meetings, and seminars with professionals. The fact that you are here reading this now is a good sign that you are heading in the right direction.
Have a Good Talk
Communication is key to any relationship–be it with a spouse, a child, parent, or friend. Despite any potential fear, you should be willing to talk openly to the addict you are concerned about. Discussing addiction can be intimidating, but it is your responsibility to convey your feelings and expectations.
It can be difficult to keep the discussion calm but do not use it as an excuse to harshly criticize, blame, or attack an addict. You must keep the conversation neutral, but also be firm and honest. Do not hold back or hide your emotions, but keep them in check.
In addition to having a discussion, you might want to plan a proper intervention alongside it. An intervention is a structured and organized plan to prevent or interrupt addiction and help the addict understand the problem. It is often planned with multiple people or even a professional interventionist.
Stop Excuses and Set Boundaries
One of the primary reasons addiction continues is because close peers continue to enable it, largely by making excuses. Such statements include dismissing that “It could be worse,” or “It isn’t so bad.” Perhaps a wife insists that her husband “has always been this way”, or a child will claim they cannot change their parents’ ways.
The truth is that you can make a difference in an addict’s life and help them stop making poor choices. But in order to do this, you have to start with yourself. By stepping up, you can make the first of many steps forward to help an addict through recovery.
When talking to the addict in question, make your boundaries clear–that you cannot be their babysitter or be responsible for all of their actions. You do not want to support their behavior, and let it be known that their actions have consequences. This can mean even mean having to cut ties if their behavior does not improve.
Additionally, you should set financial boundaries as well. Do not support their bills for drinking or drugs of any kind, legal fees, or even bailing them out of jail. If they happen to live with you, you should also address finances such as rent or mortgage if they are not carrying their weight.
Finally, after helping your loved one or friend, you should help guide them through treatment without enabling. Some addicts may go through withdrawal in recovery, and it can be tempting to give them just one drink or smoke. But this will only enable them further; help them by encouraging and being supportive of their endeavors in treatment and recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local alternative Treatment & Rehab in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.