Addiction treatment and recovery is an incredibly difficult process for people going through it, and those close to them play a huge role. As a close friend or a loved one of someone recovering from drug abuse, substance abuse or pornography abuse, you’re a vital part of their support structure which can allow them to move through this process.
At Renaissance Outpatient, we promote involvement of friends and family as much as possible in the addiction recovery process. At the same time, we’ve seen the pitfalls of friends and family who want to help, but do so in some damaging and potentially harmful ways. What are some of the enabling traits you need to avoid as you work through addiction with a friend or loved one?
It’s absolutely important to pay attention to the needs of someone recovering from addiction, but many go too far overboard here. You can’t neglect your own life just to pay attention to another, even if you’re working to help someone close to you who is struggling. If you find yourself paying bills that aren’t yours, missing work or family time or otherwise stretching far too thin while trying to help someone with their addiction, it could be a sign that you’re enabling them.
Addiction is a serious issue, but many enablers give in to their urge to downplay the situation and pretend nothing (or less) is wrong. In the worst cases, this may lead to enablers talking a friend or family out of professional assistance, which can often be the difference between life and death for some addicts.
It’s common for someone suffering from addiction to abuse friends and family members, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. Enablers often accept this abuse, figuring that the alternative is worse and they should just deal with it. In reality, this just helps support a negative lifestyle and does little to help the affected person shake their demons.
It’s a completely natural feeling to want to make a tough situation easier for someone close to you, but enablers do this to a dangerous degree. They make excuses for behavior or take blame when it isn’t theirs, and will often take on huge levels of responsibility that really just make it easier for the person struggling with addiction to backslide. Helping out in a time of need is one thing, but constantly acting as a crutch is another entirely.
Want to learn more about properly supporting a friend or loved one with substance abuse or other addiction issues? Our friendly experts at Renaissance Outpatient are ready to help.