Difference Between Enabling and Helping

It is human nature to want to help and support the people you love. However, there is a fine line between supporting someone you care about and enabling destructive behaviors. 

Enabling begins naturally. Typically, family members of those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction want to help by understanding the addicts’ feelings. Unfortunately, by doing this, family and friends are colluding with the addict’s denial and minimization of their substance use disorder. 

If you believe your loved one is struggling with their mental health or alcohol or drug addiction, contact the professionals at Drew Horowitz & Associates regarding holding an intervention and treatment options.

What is Enabling?

Substance abuse affects the entire circle of family and friends. Coupled with the fact that loved ones tend to help the addict continue their alcohol or drug abuse through what they believe are helpful actions, only to help it become a long-term problem.

Enabling is when a loved one fears that any challenge to the addict’s behavior risks damaging the relationship. However, not dealing with the consequences of their actions gives the addict the impression that their behavior is justifiable and somehow acceptable.

Helpers making excuses for an addict’s behavior is often worse than the common excuses drug addicts make. Here are some behaviors and actions that are enabling:

  • Avoiding confrontations and difficult conversations
  • Making excuses and covering for an addict–even defending them
  • Solving problems for the addict
  • Apply no consequences and minimizing the impact of their actions
  • Rarely recommending changes in behavior

What Helping An Addict Looks Like

Helping an addict will often look like not helping. An addict won’t believe they need to seek treatment, ask for medical care, or have therapy sessions unless they start suffering the consequences of their actions. 

It takes incredible self-control to back away from a loved one and allow them to hit rock bottom on their own, but it’s necessary if the next step will be addiction treatment. You will make a difference in someone’s life by essentially doing nothing.

Here are actions you can take to support an addict in hopes of seeking treatment programs:

  • Address specific destructive and disruptive behaviors
  • Insist the addict accepts responsibility for their actions
  • Ensure that consistent consequences follow each negative action
  • Frequently recommend changes in behavior

Contact Drew Horowitz & Associates ASAP

The highly-trained interventionists at Drew Horowitz & Associates are available to discuss the intervention process and explain how we can run a successful intervention. Stop enabling the addict in your life. Let us help you learn what it takes to support the addict in your life to get the necessary treatment plan in place. We want the opportunity to give you your loved one back–let us help.

Related Post