It’s understandable to worry that helping someone with addiction might enable them, but helping and enabling are two very different things. People who are going through addiction and recovery need to know that they have support; it’s important not to pull away because of the fear of enabling.
Enabling is essentially participating in behaviors that allow addiction to continue. Some examples include buying alcohol or drugs for someone, helping the person lie or keep secrets about their addictive behaviors, blaming others for the person’s addiction, rationalizing their addiction, being in denial or avoiding the problem, or engaging in codependent relationships with them.
The opposite of enabling is helping empower someone to make a change. This can look like researching treatment options or other resources, attending support groups with the person, or encouraging them to talk and being a listening ear. Setting boundaries can be hard and feel like you’re letting the person down, but they help the person understand the impact their addiction has on those around them.
If you want to support someone in your life, commit to having hard conversations. Without blaming them for their addiction, make sure it’s clear that if they get sober, you will be a steadfast support.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. We offer family therapy to help you repair relationships, and to help those in your life learn how to best support you. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.