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What Is Your Role in Your Loved One’s Addiction?

What Is Your Role in Your Loved One's Addiction?Whether you recognize it or not, your behaviors and actions influence the addict in your life. Her drug or alcohol abuse is ultimately her choice, and you cannot force her to get better, but you can take steps to quit enabling her. Find support for your own life and encourage your loved one to get help by reaching out to professional resources.

What Are Enabling Behaviors?

In her book, Friends and Families of Addiction: A Survival Manual (2006), Dr. Carol Ann Gillespie argues that enabling is doing for someone what he can do for himself. Enabling keeps addicts from experiencing the consequences of addiction, and it allows them to keep living in addiction. Enabling behaviors may seem harmless, as they include protective acts like paying bills or calling into work and making excuses for the absent addict. Gillespie points out that enabling feels good: the enabler feels as though he is helping and is often frustrated when these “helpful” actions result in no change in the addict. Unfortunately, enabling prolongs addiction and keeps your Louisville loved one from getting the help he needs.

How to Stop enabling Addiction

In his book, The Selfish Brain: Learning from Addiction (2000), Robert L. Dupont M.D. points out that Louisville loved ones are not passive victims of addiction. He explains how codependence involves allowing an addict determine your self-esteem and self-identity. In other words, close friends and family members may only see themselves in terms of their relationship with the addict. Codependence is a disease based in love, but that does not mean it helps either the sufferer or the addict.

Helping your loved one break free from addiction involves getting help for yourself. Talking with a personal or addiction counselor can help you identify what behaviors of yours enable drug abuse, and it can help you end these problems. Counseling can also strengthen your self-esteem and personal identity, which will shape your life apart from the addict’s life. This will allow you to support the addict when she is ready to ask for your help and support.

How to Encourage Addicts to Seek Rehab

When you learn how to support your own life and end enabling behaviors, you can talk to your Louisville loved one about her addiction. Love First: A Family’s Guide to Intervention (2008) gives the following suggestions for discussing addiction:

  • A family intervention is a conversation model with a high rate of success, especially when you work with a professional interventionist to determine the most effective approaches
  • A soft intervention involves detaching yourself from the addict and offering no support for addictive behaviors
  • A one-on-one conversation often proves ineffective, but it can help if users employ the right words and strategies
  • An intervention after crisis involves waiting until the addict faces a harsh consequence, such as a DUI charge, that may make her more receptive to treatment

Talking with recovery professionals will help Louisville residents determine when they can help addicts recover.

How to Quit Enabling and Promote Addiction Recovery

To access recovery resources for yourself and your Louisville loved one, call our toll-free helpline. They are available 24 hours a day to connect you to professional treatment, including therapists, interventionists and the best treatments options out there. Seek help to get well.

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