Your loved one is in the grips of addiction. You feel helpless because they aren’t showing up for work, they’re not paying their bills, and their rent hasn’t been paid in two months. You fear they will lose everything if you don’t intervene. Maybe you started paying some of their bills. You think if you just paid one month’s rent, it would help keep them in their apartment. Perhaps, you loaned them your car because theirs was wrecked last week and they have no transportation to work. Sometimes you find yourself looking for them when they don’t show up as promised. You go to neighborhood bars and anywhere you think they could be hanging out. You worry they have have been in accident, in the hospital or arrested. You may have experienced some or all of these events or thoughts if your loved one is the throes of addiction.
Addicts, no matter what their drug of choice is, often lose control over their life, relationships and finances. It is common for a parent, spouse, adult child or friend try to help keep the addict from sinking their own ship. Nevertheless, the only one truly responsibe for the outcome of the addicted life is the addict. As hard as it seems, helping and addict keep afloat is only helping the addiction. Anytime you give money it will most likely be wasted on the addiction. If you take over their responsibilities you are helping to keep them from experiencing the consequences of their own behavior. This process is hindering and is called enabling.
Enabling by defination means: To make (someone or something) able to do or be something. Enabling means that someone else will always fix, solve, or make the consequences go away. All enablers love someone who is out of control and they find themselves taking more responsibility for the actions of that person than that person is taking for themselves. By enabling your are delaying the much needed realization that the addict needs help. In this kind of dependancy everybody loses. The enabler is desperate to prevent one enormous crisis, but ends up in a contant state of stress as they attempt to manage each daily crisis. Enablers are usually aware that they are being taken advantage of and often feel frustrated, unappreciated and resentful. The enabled person will feel incompentent, incapable and dependent. The enabled person may feel hindered from building the skills and motavation they need in order to practice responsiblity and reach his or her full potential. Until an addict gets to the point of recognizing how out of control their has become, they are less likely to seek real help.
Real help comes in the form of rehabilitation. If you want to help and not hinder your loved one, perhaps offer to pay for their first month at a rehabilitation center or home. Remember the addict needs to be ready to go, not made to go. It is only when the addict is desperate to receive the much needed help that the recovery process can begin. The addict can then start taking the steps to restore their life, finances, and relationships. Keep in mind that addiction takes awhile to develop, in turn recovery is a process takes months to years with a lifetime commitment to sobriety.
When you love someone, sometimes you need to love them enough to let them go. When people around an addict quit assisting the behavior, which ultimately hinders the person, the addict will hopefully reach a point of willingness to receive help in the form of rehabilitation.