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- Many addicts have an enabler.
- This is a person who excuses their behaviour and impedes their recovery.
- An enabler thinks they’re being kind by helping an addict through their tough times.
- But in reality, they’re just making things worse.
Addiction isn’t just damaging to the addict – the people around them also suffer.
While some friends and family of addicts will repeatedly try and get them help, others are referred to as “enablers.”
Enabling, according to Psych Central, is “removing the natural consequences to the addict of his or her behaviour.” Essentially, an enabler will look the other way or make excuses for the addict’s behaviour, allowing them to continue deeper into their cycle of destruction.
While the enabler may feel they are being kind by excusing their friend or family member, in the long run they’re delaying the inevitable.
“Evidence has shown that an addict experiencing the damaging consequences of his addiction on his life has the most powerful incentive to change,” Psych Central reads. “Often this is when the addict ‘hits bottom’ – a term commonly referred to in Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Enablers are often codependent, and feel like they need to solve other people’s problems. With addicts, a codependent person will end up taking on their responsibilities, while the addict does less and less.
Some enabling actions include giving the addict money, repairing their property or belongings they broke, lying to cover up the addict’s behaviour, fulfilling the addict’s commitments and responsibilities, taking phone calls for the addict, making excuses, or even bailing them out of jail.
Addiction treatment center Reflections has created a 14-question quiz on its website that you can take if you fear you’re an enabler for someone. Some of the questions include “Do you ever tell lies on behalf of your loved one to protect them from a consequences, even if they did not ask you to do so?” and “Do you ever blame yourself for your loved one’s bad behavior?”