Having any sort of relationship with an addict is difficult. As a spouse, sibling, friend, or parent of an addict, you might find yourself expending a lot of energy into hoping they will change, or trying to ignore their addiction completely. Although you may convince yourself that someone else’s addiction is completely out of your hands, the truth is that there is a big difference between loving an addict, and enabling them. Many people are supporting others addictions, even if they’re unaware.
Treatment Alternative’s New York drug rehab shares how to tell if you’re enabling an addict:
You enable someone by:
- Giving them money. Regardless of their begging, pleading, reasoning, giving money to an addict is ultimately giving them money to support their habit.
- Paying for their transportation. Remind yourself that giving an addict gas money, or paying for their car is providing them with a resource to help fuel their addiction.
- Buying them a phone. It can be hard not to buy the addict you love a phone, since you want to keep in contact with them. On the other hand, addicts use their phone to contact dealers.
- Providing them with a place to live. Giving the addict in your life a place to live, paying for their rent or their hotel rooms is essentially providing them with a place to use drugs or get drunk.
- Bailing them out of jail. Bailing an addict out of jail, or covering for them when they get into trouble is teaching them that they don’t need to handle their responsibilities or take control of their actions – because you do it for them.
You can love an addict by:
- Giving them food. Instead of giving them money, take them out to a meal. This way you can spend time together and you can be confident that you are not providing them with resources to fuel their addiction.
- Being there to talk. Loving and providing a positive support system can be helpful to an addict. Be there for them when they want to talk, but make sure you are not making excuses for them or justifying their actions.
- Acknowledging their addiction, and finding them professional treatment. If the addict in your life is unable to find treatment for themselves, call our New York drug rehabilitation at Treatment Alternatives for immediate assistance.
Recognizing that you are enabling an addict gives you the opportunity to change your behavior and help your loved one beat their addiction, rather than feed it.