Are you Enabling an Addict’s Addiction Instead of Their Recovery?

Breaking the Cycle of Enabling the Addict in your Life
“The disease of addiction is often poorly understood, and the behaviors of a person with addiction are often bewildering to family and friends. Well-intentioned but poorly-informed individuals may inadvertently enable addiction to progress by shielding the person with addiction from consequences that could potentially initiate change.” 

~Excerpt from a workshop series at  www.samhsa.gov.

No amount of enabling will ever fix or cure the disease of addiction, it will only make the situation worse. Enabling an addict can be a difficult habit to break, but for the addict to realize the consequences of her behavior, her loved ones must stop enabling substance abuse. This is sometimes the only way an addict will ever get professional help. 

Below are Signs that you may be Enabling Addiction… instead of the Recovery.

  • Fear takes over your actions: In order to avoid situations that may be frightening, the enabler may do whatever it takes to avoid them. You also may not act because you are afraid to ‘rock the boat.’ Changing a lifestyle is daunting and even though you know it needs to happen, fear is holding you back from taking the leap.
  • You put the addict’s needs before your own: It is natural to want to help loved ones when you see them struggling, but when their needs are taken care of while you (the enabler) neglect your own, this is a sure sign that you are enabling the addict. 
  • You ignore the addict’s increasingly dangerous behavior: This can be anything from overlooking problems, to true denial that a problem even exists. This is the number one—and the easiest place to land—when dealing with an addict. It’s too hard to believe… so you don’t. 
  • You have difficulty expressing emotions: You may often be unsure of how to express your feelings—especially when fear kicks in and if there are negative repercussions for doing so—and you are more than likely enabling the situation…and the addict.
  • You lie to others to cover up the addicts’ bad behavior: To present a calm, cool, and controlled exterior to the world, an enabler will lie to keep the peace. By doing this you end up digging yourself deeper and deeper in the lies and eventually find yourself living in a false, inauthentic environment where you begin to have a hard time recognizing what’s ‘real’ anymore.
  • Blaming everyone but the addict: The enabler often accuses others to protect the addict from having to face the consequences of their actions, placing the blame on anyone besides the addict herself. This is part of denial and lying that will start to become the enabler’s way of life and, in the end, you may end up losing friends and family by ‘choosing’ the addict.
  • You may end up resenting the addict: By living with the above behaviors, the enabler will likely start to feel angry and hurt and begin to resent the addict —all while continuing to enable the addiction.

~Excerpts from Karen Khaleghi Ph.D. at Psychology Today


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If you or a loved one has a substance addiction, please give us a call today at 844-252-5221. It’s time to heal your heart and find true happiness. Our admissions team is always available to talk and answer any questions you may have about our Treatment Programs at Casa Capri Recovery for women.

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