One thing that all cases of addiction have in common is an enabler. An enabler is someone who encourages negative behavior or help makes it happen. Almost everyone with addiction has an enabler in life.
Anyone can be an enabler. Be it friend or family or coworker. You could even be an enabler to someone else. That is why it is important to know what an enabler is and the signs to detect them.
There isn’t one type of personality that can’t be an enabler. It is a title that can fit on anyone regardless of what they think about themselves.
It generally is because of an emotional connection. They are close or share a closeness with an addict. It can be a mother, a grandparent, or spouse. What makes this important is that it is someone whose opinion matters very much to the addict.
Enabling is not good for helping an addict recover. In fact, they usually want to ignore all signs that their loved one may be an addict. They’ll even deny it. To them, denial means everything stays the same and nothing changes.
What they’re really doing is putting the person they love in more danger. Here are some signs that someone is an enabler.
- Ignoring Behavior
If your loved one is lying about where they are going and sneaking out and you ignore it, you’re enabling. No one sneaks out because they aren’t ashamed of their drug use. They know it’s bad and want to avoid discussing it.
When you ignore the fact that someone is drifting from their usual days and sneaking out that doesn’t help. You have to approach and talk about it to help.
You can enable by resenting an addict. This is because that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are mean to the addict, you can just fuel their addiction. You aren’t helping in any way, you’re just giving them another reason to use.
Even if you are not open about your resentment, it is still there. It is festering. You need to offer help and assistance and talk about it. You have to take action.
- Shifting Blame
Often people will blame someone else in the addicts’ life for their behavior. You might not want to blame the addict. You might not want to recognize that it is drugs that are causing the addicts changed behavior. By doing so, you are enabling.
You are hiding the addict’s behavior and excusing it. This is the opposite of what needs to be done to help an addict. They need to be held responsible for their own behavior and recovery.
- Covering Up Their Addiction
Instead of having the addict own up or explain themselves you cover it up for them. If they miss work or an obligation you’re there with an excuse. They were busy or under the weather. You don’t tell the truth, that they have an addiction.
You maintain control so that the addict doesn’t have to suffer and feel shame. But that doesn’t help. That teaches the addict that they can continue with their behavior.