Knowing the fine line between loving and enabling is very important. When you love a drug addict, whether it is your family, your friend, or your loved one, our first instinct is to try to help them. BEWARE! Sometimes, what you call help can be labeled as enabling, and it can cause a lot of damage than good.
That is why you need to know the fine line between enabling and addiction.
This article focuses on helping you set clear boundaries so that you understand the difference between love and enabling, which is how to love a drug addict without enabling.
What Is Enabling?
In simple words, enabling a drug addict is loving them or supporting them to such a level that they forget to, or do not have to deal with the consequences of their actions. In this case, it is addiction.
An enabler is someone who is close to the drug addict; it could be a loved one, a friend, sibling, or a parent, who thinks that somehow they are helping the drug addict, when in fact, they are further assisting them towards addiction.
They may think that what they are doing is going to stop them, but their unconditional love and support is actually worsening the drug or alcohol addiction problems that addicts have.
It is to bring to your attention that if you are a close one to a drug addict and you care about them, then you need to change your approach. Chances are you are doing things wrong out of your unconditional love.
An example of a mother and a son can be taken, whenever her son yells at people, he lies or steals to get the substance of his choice, or he forgets to pay his bills, his mother covers it up for him. She pays his bills, apologizes to people on his behalf, covers up his lies or theft out of unconditional love. In doing so, she takes away the right from her son to face the consequences of his actions, thus allowing him to further fall into addiction.
In this case, the mother is an enabler. She loves her son so much that she does not let him face the consequences of his actions, thus creating more problems for him.
Changing Your Approach By Using Tough Love To Combat Your Loved One’s Addiction
As mentioned above, there is nothing wrong with loving the drug addict, because after all, they are human beings as well. What is wrong is your narrative and the way you love them. This needs to change.
Stop having a soft corner for everything wrong that they do. Stop covering up their mess and let them face their rock bottom.
You must make sure that your intentions, well-intended, in any case, are not enabling.
Try out the following points.
1. Set Clear Rules And Boundaries
One of the most important things to do when you care about a drug addict is to set clear boundaries between each other and in the relationship you are having.
This means that both and then you need to abide by certain rules. Let them know what will happen if they break those rules, and when they do, be strong enough to do those things. Stick to implementing the punishments; otherwise, your rules and boundaries will not be taken seriously by them.
It is not just setting boundaries in the relationship. Also set some boundaries for yourself and tell yourself that you will abide by these boundaries no matter what. For example, if they come home intoxicated, you will throw them out despite feeling sad.
2. Do Not Be Afraid Of The Outcome
Even though it may hurt you a lot to see them suffer and in pain. You must know that you can not take care of everything for them and that they are full persons in themselves. They must take care of themselves, and if they do not, let them face the consequences.
Do not be scared of the outcome of their actions and what will happen to them. Neither be scared of the outcome of the action that you take against them. You need to love tough times when you are dealing with a drug addict.
3. Do Not Give In To The Traps Or Mind Games Drug Addicts Use
Often when they face the consequences of their actions or when they need to get the substance of their desire, drug addicts can play nasty games on you. It is because they know that you love them, so they manipulate you.
Do not give in to their mind games and the tricks they play on you. It is okay to harden your heart a little for the greater good.
4. Admit The Reality Of Their Situation
Living in a fantasy world where you forget all the real problems is okay for a while, but when dealing with drug addicts, it’s not!
You can not let yourself be blinded by the sensitivity of the situation, and neither can you hide it from your loved one. Confront them and tell them they have problems that need to be dealt with.
The more drug addicts come to terms with their reality, the more likely they are to work on their recovery.
5. Know That You Can Not Fix Them
Understand that it is not your job to fix a drug addict. Not only is it not your job, but you also can not fix them either. Many enablers think that they can somehow fix their loved ones. However, they forget the fact that drug addicts to are humans, and they can only be fixed when they want to be.
All you can do is encourage and support them to treat themselves.
6. Self Care Is Important
Do not put yourself second when loving a drug addict. Know that you need to look out for yourself as well because dealing with a drug addict takes so much of your energy. It does not mean you are selfish; it simply means you also care for yourself.
7. Tough Love Does Mean No Love
Even though it may seem very challenging, you need to tell yourself that tough love does mean no love. You are not rude or selfish or heartless. It just means that you are allowing your loved ones to face the consequences of their actions. You are being tough to them for their own good.
Making sure that you are not enabling your close ones through their addiction is one of the best choices you can make for them. It can make a difference in life and death. Do not be scared to take action when needed.
We hope this guide was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments bar below.
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