How to Assist an Alcoholic Relative Without Enabling Them

People who have a loved one who is actively abusing substances engage in enabling behaviour frequently. There is an internal drive to correct this person’s course as they witness their life collapse and the detrimental effects of their addiction mount. Although the desire to help is noble, in the long run it may end up doing more harm than good.

Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder, can ruin the lives of the alcoholic and those closest to them. Our caring and compassion may be perverted by the illness into furthering its spread. It can be challenging to figure out how to help an alcoholic loved one, but doing so is essential to avoid enabling your family member any further. Being a valuable asset to your loved one while they are in active addiction, and especially when they start the recovery journey, requires learning how to support an addict without enabling them. The challenge is stepping back and letting the person take control of their illness and recovery, despite your desire to provide them with advice, support, coaching, and cover.

The term “enabling” describes the practise of shielding an addict from the full weight of the repercussions of their actions, whether on purpose or unintentionally. There’s a risk of harm to the alcoholic’s loved ones as well as to themselves. This dulls the patient’s perception of the seriousness of their condition. Therefore, it postpones the introduction of formal drug addiction treatment.

Five Warning Signs You’re Enabling Unhealthy Financial Support for an Alcoholic

A lot of alcoholics are very manipulative because they will do anything in order keep drinking. If you give them money, they may say they’ll use it for a car payment, rent, or groceries, but in reality, they’ll probably blow most of it on booze. Don’t enable an alcoholic in your family by continuing to give them money. This is important to avoid softening the blow of their actions, but it can be challenging and have unintended consequences.

To put another person’s needs ahead of one’s own can be as simple as ignoring one’s own psychological well-being in order to provide for a family member. One way of enabling an alcoholic is to prioritise the alcoholic’s needs over your own. Accept that the alcoholic is ultimately accountable for their own behaviors and decisions. Addicts need to realise that their loved ones will not always be there to enable their destructive behaviour.

Justifying one’s dishonest behaviour by saying it wasn’t their fault

The desire to help make it seem like everything is fine can be a result of genuine concern among family members. It may seem harmless, but assisting someone in presenting an ordinary image to the outside world is a form of enabling. Keeping up appearances is a useful mask for an addict to hide behind.

Attributing one’s substance abuse problems to external causes

It’s natural to want to shift responsibility away from yourself and onto your loved one’s immediate surroundings. Substance abuse is a complex disease with many causes. To that end, don’t blame it on anyone or anything but yourself. Our patient is the one who will be required to undergo the entire treatment and recovery process.

Motivated by fear

Addiction has the potential to produce terrifying results. Think about the feelings you’d have if you decided to let a loved one sit in jail a week or two rather than getting out of jail for them. You may think you’re doing them a favour by having to bail them out, but all you’re doing is reinforcing the addict’s belief that their behaviour is harmless and protecting them from serious consequences. No matter how cold it makes you feel, staying logical and avoiding making decisions out of fear is essential if you want to help your loved one get professional addiction treatment.

Those close to an alcoholic can aid their loved one in three key ways.

Read up and get knowledgeable.
When it comes time to confront with the repercussions of an addiction, knowing the habits and interplay of the addiction will make it easier. Knowing more allows for better planning. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, we strongly suggest seeking professional counselling or visiting a local Al-Anon meeting for support.

Hold a meeting to intervene with the process
Although it may seem extreme, an intervention can be effective in waking up an addict who is in denial if it is planned by a professional and carried out in a clear and concise manner. Round up the person’s closest friends and family members, and perhaps even a clinician who specialises in treating alcoholics.

Get them in touch with addiction specialists.
Presenting a loved one trying to cope with drinking disorders with a survey or potential treatment options at the conclusion of an assistance is a great next step. Locating an addiction treatment facility in your location that offers a variety of services is essential to helping a loved one achieve a life free from substance abuse.

Make no excuses or attempt to hide the behaviour.
When a person is actively drunk, some of the most heinous things that occur during an addiction take place, and abuse drugs frequently result in long-lasting memory loss. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even one or two drinks of alcohol can cause noticeable memory changes. People forget more the more they drink. The effects of some drugs are similar.

The family can’t be the cleaning crew because the goal of the family is to ensure that the person┬ásees the effects of the addiction. If someone stumbles inside and passes out in the yard, they remain there. The family does not sooth the social interaction if the individual has become loud at a party. All of those repercussions must be handled by the individual alone.

Codependency Maintains Addict’s Illness.

Enabling is a symptom of an underlying problem, which is codependency. When two people are so dependent on one another that they cannot function without the other, they are said to be codependent. Codependency is characterised by one person’s actions that enable, assistance, or perpetuate the other’s destructive, irresponsible behaviour.

Codependency often presents itself initially as a selfless act. Everyone feels terrible when a close friend or family member is suffering. Your intentions are good; you just want to keep your loved one safe. It could involve doing things like letting your grown child move back in with you while they try to kick their drug habit. It’s possible that you’ve answered the phone for your drunk partner’s boss.

As these actions progress from being exceptional to routine, codependency develops. The addict learns to rely on you to bail them out of sticky situations, and you always come through for them.

It’s possible you’re trying to help by preventing them from falling flat on their face. The truth is that by tolerating their actions, you are making the situation worse. They can keep on doing what they’re doing without fear of repercussions even though they understand you will always be there to fix the situation.

Please give us a call at any time to learn more about the services we offer to people who are battling addiction.