Stop the Cycle of Enabling an Addicted Loved One

Links to other resources: Residential Treatment, Detox, Part 1 on Enabling

Last week we talked about how individuals can begin to identify and stop enabling with time and education and ways in which the support system that once enabled their family member to continue using drugs and alcohol can be a healthier support system that positively contributes to a life of recovery. At the best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, Florida Springs in Panama City, individuals and families will learn about healthy support within a context of recovery and sobriety from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Today we will talk about how we can begin to take a more active and positive role in our addicted friend or family member’s life to stop enabling and hopefully get them help.

Stop the Cycling of Enabling

Last week we talked about Al-Anon Family Groups, which can be a great resource for people who need support while struggling with a loved one’s substance use disorder. However, once you have reached the point of learning about Al-Anon programs and possibly attending a meeting, you have already done much to educate yourself and understand enabling. Many people are currently struggling with what they can do to get to that point. Like many other addiction-related problems we talk about on this blog, dealing with enabling usually involved clear communication. The VeryWell Mind article that I mentioned last week discusses both “Creating Boundaries” and “Not Giving Money” as important steps to ending the enabling cycle. Clear communication is key to both of those steps. Maintaining boundaries within a home or relationship involves telling the addicted person what the important rules are going to be going forward and then following through and sticking to those rules. Remember, when clearly setting boundaries with an addict the addicted person might get upset and say hurtful things to you or get very angry. They are not thinking clearly. They will someday soon start to heal and enter recovery, and they will feel terrible for what they put you through, but the only way to get to that healing place is to set firm boundaries, communicate them, and stick by them, and that includes firm boundaries on the types of financial support that will be given moving forward. Not giving the person cash and not blindly supporting the person financially might be one of the most important new boundaries that you communicate about, and it may be one of the changes that feels most uncomfortable to the person battling substance abuse, but it must be done for both you and them to heal and become healthy functioning people again.

Here is one important example of setting boundaries in these scenarios: if the person with alcoholism continues to drink and gets arrested for a DUI, you may choose not to pay for bail or a lawyer. There are two keys to this example. One is the act of declining to give financial support. The other key is clearly communicating, in advance if possible, that financial support of that type will not be available. The more circumstances you can clearly communicate about, before they ever happen, the better things will be. If financial support needs to end in many circumstances, try to communicate every circumstance you can foresee. Have the hard discussions early, and it might help to avoid those circumstances ever happening. These things are difficult to measure in impact, but clear boundaries being set in advance with an alcoholic might lead to the person getting help with their drinking sooner and avoiding an extra DUI, serious health issues, or any number of other terrible side effects from problem drinking or drug use.

When the Verywell Mind article from last week discussed “Letting the person deal with the consequences of their own actions”, these were the types of scenarios we were talking about. I am giving examples where possible, but these situations are infinitely complicated and hard to predict for every individual. In some cases, creating boundaries might include taking the children to live at another relative’s house because the household is no longer safe. Nobody can easily give advice on when or how to do things like that, but we can advise people to seek out local support. If you are in a dangerous scenario for yourself or someone else always call 911. Seek out local support structures and institutions early before things get too bad. Educate yourself on therapy, counseling, and emotional support for family members of addicts and alcoholics, including Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and group support like Al-Anon meetings, where you can find people who have faced similar circumstances in the same community that you live in. If your loved one is ready to begin a life of recovery and get help at the best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, call Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center today. We are located in Panama City.

By T.A. Cannon



VeryWell Mind “How to Know When You’re Enabling Addiction”. Find the article at: