Person holds hands with a loved one as they learn the difference between helping vs. enabling

Helping vs. Enabling an Addiction

When you love someone, it’s natural to want to help. But it’s important to know the difference between actually helping and enabling. When you enable, you are taking away the person’s ability to learn from their mistakes and ultimately become a stronger individual. It can be hard for them to take responsibility for their actions and make changes in their life. It may create an unhealthy dependency on the enabler instead of allowing them to find strength within themselves.

Promises Behavioral Health provides treatment for codependency, a condition in which someone’s need to help goes too far and actually reinforces the other person’s addiction. Call Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about helping vs. enabling.

Helping vs. Enabling

It’s important to recognize what helping vs. enabling means. Helping is anything that supports someone’s journey toward recovery, while enabling is anything that helps them continue their addictive behavior. It’s important to be mindful of how your help is impacting someone else’s behavior. This means setting healthy boundaries and only offering help when it will actually support their journey to recovery.

Examples of helping include:

  • Attending family therapy sessions with a loved one
  • Creating a structured schedule and sticking to it
  • Listening without judgment or criticism

Examples of enabling include:

  • Bailing someone out of jail when they have been arrested due to their addiction
  • Giving them money so they can buy drugs or alcohol
  • Making excuses for why they don’t need to go to rehab

Recognizing the difference between helping and enabling is essential for anyone who loves someone with an addiction. At Promises Behavioral Health, we provide support and guidance in creating healthy boundaries as part of our treatment program.

Recognizing the Signs of Enabling

Sometimes it isn’t obvious that you are enabling someone because there is a fine line between enabling and being supportive. When you are just being supportive, you are doing things for someone they can’t do by themselves, but when you’re enabling, you are habitually doing things for people they could and should do for themselves. Other signs of enabling include:

  • Putting your own needs aside to continually take care of the addict
  • Feeling resentful because you’re taking on more than your share of responsibilities
  • Lying to others, and possibly to yourself, about unacceptable behavior
  • Spending a lot of time and energy focusing on fixing the addict

If you’re an enabler, you are participating in the process. You are creating and protecting an environment where a person can continue behaving in an unacceptable way.

How to Break the Cycle of Enabling

The first step in breaking the cycle of enabling is to recognize it. Once you become aware of your own behavior, you can start making changes:

  • It’s important to set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Make sure that your help only supports recovery, not addiction.
  • Let your loved one know that while you will support them, if they choose recovery, you will no longer enable their addiction.
  • Understand that if their addiction is impacting your life, you have the right to take care of yourself and put your own needs first.

Each person is different, and the best way to help is to understand your loved one’s needs. At Promises Behavioral Health, we take a customized approach to treatment that considers both clinical and personal factors. In addition, our team of experienced professionals will provide you with guidance in navigating this challenging situation with empathy and compassion.

Learn Helping vs. Enabling at Promises Behavioral Health

Promises Behavioral Health is here to help you break the cycle of enabling and start supporting your loved one in a healthy way. Our compassionate professionals are dedicated to providing the best treatment for codependency. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about how we can help. Once you learn the difference between helping and enabling, you will be better equipped to support your loved one on their journey to recovery.

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