Woman in Wheat Field

Enabling Addiction

Are you loving someone to death?

This handout provides you with some healthy alternatives to ensure you are helping your loved ones and not enabling their addiction.

ENABLING
Give Money: People will beg, plead, and threaten you in order to get cash. They may make up reasons such as starving, needing medical care or other necessities such as rent or gas. CAUTION – they are simply using any money you give them to support their habit.

LOVING
Provide Food: Meet the person at a restaurant or buy them a meal. It offers you an opportunity to sit down with them and talk. You can remain connected and can be a positive influence.

ENABLING 
Pay Car Expenses: Do not be fooled, while a car is necessary to get to work, run errands, or go to school – it is also a vehicle to supply one’s addiction. Cars provide secrecy and access. They are used to meet suppliers and transport drugs to other people.

LOVING
Seek Professional Help: Identify an interventionist or counselor to help the person. Provide access to a professional that has the experience and knowledge to help lead the person down a path to recovery.

ENABLING
Phone Payments: Staying connected to your loved one is important, especially since they can disappear at a moments notice. So, you think providing a phone offers safety and security. However, it also offers convenience and access to feed their addiction. The mobile phone contains the numbers of all the dealers and access points to drugs. It allows connection to those dangerous influences anywhere at any time.

LOVING
Pay for Treatment: Treatment is a necessary part of recovery. If the person had a life-threatening health condition, such as cancer, you would pay for treatment. Treatment is just as necessary for addiction as any other disease. Better to pay for treatment than to pay for a funeral.

ENABLING
Provide or Pay for Housing: Offering to pay for rent, utilities, or a hotel room, can have negative consequences. The addict is now provided a place to use. They will bring drugs and paraphernalia to the location and use every day. Eventually, this could lead to the person overdosing. Paying for sober housing could be considered appropriate if it is a controlled and monitored environment.

LOVING
Phone Conversations: Stay strong! Tell the person how much you love them and care for them. Always bring up the option of treatment and ask them “Are you ready to get treatment?” Eventually, that question will be answered with “Yes”. Never give in or give up.

ENABLING
Offer to Pay Bail: Bailing the person out of jail only provides the opportunity for them to continue their dangerous behavior. Not bailing someone out of jail is the best support you can provide.

LOVING
Addiction is a Disease: Hoping that a person will just “stop using” typically means that an individual will continue their habit much longer and ensures that family and friends will keep enabling. Educating yourself about addiction significantly increases your chances of helping your loved one. Understanding that drug use isn’t simply a “choice” but that continued drug use affects a person both mentally and physically is important. Stay informed and educated!

DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN ACTIVITIES THAT ENABLE VERSUS THOSE THAT HELP IS CRUCIAL TO GETTING YOUR LOVED ONE THE ASSISTANCE THEY NEED.

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