9 Signs You're Enabling Your Loved One's Addiction

April 30th, 2019

Relationships can be very messy when addiction is involved. Substance abuse and addiction affects millions of people across the country every single year, and each one of these people have relationships that suffer the impacts of this addiction. However, many people suffering from addiction do not seek treatment – and sometimes, their loved ones can enable their addiction and allow them to continue the substance abuse. If you have a loved one who is suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, keep an eye on these signs that you may be enabling your loved one’s addiction.

#1: You Offer Consistent Financial Assistance

One of the hardest lines to define is the one between helping and enabling. If you are consistently offering financial support to your loved one, you may feel as if you are simply assisting them with getting out of a difficult situation. However, your financial support may also be prolonging their substance abuse. 

If you pay your loved one’s bills or rent, or even offer to let them stay with you, you could allow them to continue to fund their own addiction. They may also continue to rely on you to take care of their responsibilities so they can continue to abuse their substance of choice. Instead of consistently paying their bills, offer to get them support for their addiction or pay for rehab treatment.

#2: You Ignore Their Dangerous Behavior

Substance abuse can lead a person to act in a way that they normally would not. They may engage in dangerous and risky behavior, often leading them to trouble with the law. Ignoring or excusing their dangerous or risky behavior can lead you to enabling their addiction. If your loved one is continually battling arrests, driving while intoxicated, or acting out violently, you need to pay attention to it. Your loved one has a drug or alcohol problem, and they need help for it.

 #3: You Consistently Make Excuses for Your Loved One

Your loved one will not be able to change their behavior and accept that they need help unless they understand the consequences of their addiction. If you consistently cover up for your loved one’s mistakes, lie about their behavior, or help them clean up their legal troubles, you take that ability to understand the consequences away from them. When you stop making excuses or lying on their behalf, your loved one can face the consequences of their addiction and realize that they need to seek help.

#4: You Keep the Substances in Your Home

If you also use the substances that your loved one is suffering an addiction to, you could be furthering your loved one’s addiction. Within your home, you have an imbalance – while you may use the drugs and alcohol recreationally and for fun, your loved one has a physical and painful dependence on the substance. The substance can be a trigger for your loved one to use more, driving them deeper into the addiction. Keeping the items in your home can make it much more difficult for your loved one to seek help or stop using. 

#5: You Suppress Your Emotions

 Loving someone who has an addiction can be very difficult. You have to battle painful emotions of guilt, sadness, and anger every day. However, you should make these emotions known to your loved ones. By downplaying or shutting down your emotions to your loved ones, they may not realize how much the addiction is hurting you and will continue to use. One of the main triggers that push people toward achieving sobriety is realizing how an addiction impacts their loved ones. If you are honest about what you are feeling because of the addiction, it may be easier for them to seek help.

#6: You Think That Your Loved One Can Overcome Their Addiction Alone

Addiction is a painful condition that can be extremely difficult to seek help for without support from loved ones. You may feel optimistic that your loved one will be able to overcome their addiction on their own, but this is rarely the case. This pattern of thinking is further denial and avoidance of your loved one’s addiction – as much as they genuinely want to change, they need your help to find treatment. By allowing your loved one to continue to use without assistance or professional treatment, they will not achieve sobriety. 

#7: You Blame Other People or Circumstances for the Addiction

Your loved one may be suffering from an addiction for a number of reasons, but at the end of the day, they have sole responsibility over themselves. By blaming other people for forcing your loved one to abuse substances, you are giving them an excuse to continue to use. In addition, blaming traumatic circumstances for the addiction has the same effect. As much as a difficult divorce or the loss of a family member may trigger an addiction, passing the blame will make it challenging for your loved one to seek help.

#8: You Fix Your Loved One’s Problems for Them

Your loved one should take responsibility for their actions. If you fix their problems on their behalf, they lose that accountability and do not feel the consequences of their actions. If you call in sick for your loved one or help them get out of trouble at school, you are enabling the addiction and contributing to the problem. It is natural and normal to want to protect your loved one from harm, but handling their problems for them will keep them from changing their behavior and seeking help.

#9: You Assist Your Loved One With Their Legal Troubles

If your loved one is routinely in legal trouble for their addiction, you can assist them to an extent – but keeping them out of trouble contributes to enabling behavior. Bailing your loved one out of jail, covering up their criminal activities, or paying off any traffic tickets or fines on their behalf are all forms of enabling. They will continue to engage in dangerous and unlawful behavior because they have you as a safety net. Instead of helping your loved one completely exonerate themselves in legal situations, help them gain the tools they need to help themselves. 

Seek Treatment at Windmill Wellness Ranch

If you have a loved one who is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, make sure that you are not engaging in any enabling behaviors. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to help them seek professional treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab facility. If you are looking for a holistic and comprehensive treatment program in Canyon Lake, Texas, look no further than Windmill Wellness Ranch. 

Our recovery professionals will provide therapies and detox treatments to help your loved one begin their path to recovery. Contact Windmill Wellness Ranch today to learn more about our programs and how to enroll.