If you suspect or know that your spouse is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, you may be at a loss as to how to help him or her. What can you do?\u00a0 How do you confront the issue?\u00a0 The answers don\u2019t come easily; after all, it\u2019s not as though you were taught in school how to cope with an alcoholic or drug-addicted spouse. The truth is that in your attempts to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, and do things you think are helpful, you may be doing more harm than good.\u00a0 Like so many in your shoes, you may be inadvertently supporting--or \u201cenabling\u201d--your spouse\u2019s addiction without realizing it. It\u2019s pretty easy to enable someone, especially when you love the person.\u00a0 While some acts of enabling are obvious--such as buying liquor for him or her--others are easy to rationalize away or fail to recognize altogether.\u00a0 Here is a list of indicators that you are, in fact, enabling your spouse and decreasing his or her likeliness of getting help: \tYou take on his or her responsibilities. Living with addiction leaves little time for your spouse to fulfill his or her normal obligations. If you start changing your schedule to pick up the kids because your inebriated spouse can\u2019t, or if you find yourself completing work assignments or schoolwork because your spouse is high, you are enabling the addiction. \tYou make excuses. A person struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction often exhibits unacceptable or inappropriate behavior. As a spouse, you might find yourself making excuses for it: \u201cShe\u2019s been very tired lately\u2026.you know\u2026work, kids, etc.,\u201d or \u201cI\u2019m sorry he had to leave the anniversary party right away; he\u2019s been feeling sick this weekend.\u201d Making excuses for your loved one prevents him or her from taking personal responsibility for bad behavior. Your spouse--whose thinking is clouded by the addiction--will often be more than happy to be let \u201coff the hook\u201d by your endless excuses on his or her behalf.\u00a0 It makes being an addict much easier. \tYou avoid talking about the addiction. Do you avoid bringing up your spouse\u2019s prescription pill abuse because you want to \u201ckeep the peace\u201d?\u00a0 Do you avoid mentioning concerns about your spouse\u2019s heavy alcohol use because you worry what the reaction might be? Your spouse has a serious problem that is not going to go away on its own.\u00a0 Alcoholism impacts brain functioning in fundamental ways. As a result, your spouse\u2019s behavior will inevitably get worse, affecting every aspect of your marriage, as well as your family life. Addiction is best addressed by the addict\u2019s loved one, painful as that may be. \tYou provide financial help. Substance abuse takes a financial toll. Your loved one needs money to support an addiction, whether he or she is hooked on heroin or prescription pills. In many cases, addicts also need money to pay for necessities, like gas. \u00a0If you\u2019re estranged from your spouse, you may even be fronting money for basics like rent or groceries. \tYou clean up your spouse\u2019s messes. You may have bailed your alcoholic spouse out of jail after a DWI charge or lied to his or her boss, claiming a bout of the flu was the reason behind several days of missed work. Addicts cannot reclaim their lives until they begin to take responsibility for their choices and behaviors. Cleaning up after your addicted loved one only delays his or her opportunity to become sober. \tYou use or drink with your spouse. Indulging with your addicted spouse only reinforces the message that the behavior is acceptable to (and even endorsed by) you. Don\u2019t give in to your spouse\u2019s urging or manipulations to get you to use or drink with him or her. \tYou directly support the addiction. If you\u2019ve ever taken your addicted spouse doctor-shopping or picked up a bottle of wine at the store, you\u2019ve directly encouraged the destructive behavior. To get help and support for your loved one, to speak with a Promises Austin Recovery Specialist.