Enabling is not about helping somebody who is in a tight spot. Enabling really refers to allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his behavior. The result is that the substance abuser continues to drink, and you, the enabler, suffers.
The addict may declare all kinds of promises to stop using or drinking and things may go along fine for a while. Then something else happens. He doesn’t show up for work, doesn’t pay his bills. But he knows somebody will always bail him out.
Enabling behavior is actually harmful to you, mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. This is a highly dysfunctional relationship. You may think you are helping the addict, but you are actually supporting the addiction. As enabling continues, you may feel the need to control every situation, often at great cost to yourself.
How often have you bailed a family member out of a tough spot because he was hung over, or can’t attend an event or go to work because he’s inebriated? Did you cover for him and save his job? Maybe for a day, but your life and his life have not been improved. Do you feel like you are in one crisis after another?
What can you do for yourself?
You can seek professional treatment. As you recognize ways in which you have neglected your own life and needs, you’ll explore why you feel compelled to help those people whose problems need their own attention.
Is enabling a disorder?
Enabling and co-dependency are chronic, self-destructive disorders that can go into remission with treatment and support. Continued treatment of family and close friends are helpful in preventing reoccurrences.
12-Step support can offer support and a model for life with boundaries and enabling behavior reduction. Your local 12-Step meetings may include Al-Anon or Alateen support as well as ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).
For more information on Al-Anon click here.
For more information or to talk to an admissions specialist call 1-844-U-GET-WELL (844-843-8935).
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