How to Avoid Enabling a Drug Addict
How to Avoid Enabling a Drug Addict
Drugs can take over not only the lives of those who suffer from addiction, but the lives of their family members and friends as well. As a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, or partner of someone with a drug problem, you probably feel overwhelmed, saddened and angry at your loved one’s behavior, but still want to help. While this instinct is only natural, you could actually be doing more harm than good by helping someone close to you. By taking steps to avoid enabling your loved one, you can give the individual the incentive needed to seek help.
1. Don’t give the addict financial assistance.
While it you may feel like you are helping your loved one to stay out of trouble by loaning them money or bailing them out of jail, providing financial assistance may actually have a counteractive effect. If your family member or friend knows that you will be there to help them, they are less likely to address their problem. It may be difficult for you, but you can most help your loved one by saying “no” when they ask for any type of financial help, no matter how small the amount. This may mean that your friend or family member has to face a difficult situation, such as jail time, but people are often more willing to seek genuine help when they have reached rock bottom. Instead of giving the family member money directly, consider offering to pay for their treatment at an addiction recovery facility.
2. Talk to your loved one in an open way and don’t try to cover up the problem.
Loved ones often enable others by denying that they have a problem. If you see evidence that someone in your life has a problem with drugs and other types of addiction, you need to talk to them about it. By not saying anything about the problem or covering it up to others, you are indirectly supporting the behavior. If you are having a difficult time confronting someone in your life, consider seeking help from a counselor, such as a professional at a drug rehab center. A trained professional will be able to provide an outside perspective and provide suggestions on how to start such a difficult conversation.
3. Don’t indirectly encourage addiction.
Sometimes friends, family members, or partners support addictive behaviors indirectly by being a party to them. Through an action such as drinking alcohol with a loved one, you could be communicating that the behavior is appropriate and accepted. To avoid sending your loved one the wrong message, you need to set a good example around them.
4. Take a step back from your loved one.
Sometimes in order to best help someone in your life with an addictive behavior, you have to remove yourself from their life, even for a short time. This may result in a difficult situation, such as not inviting them to family functions, or even something as extreme as kicking them out of the house. If an individual realizes that their addiction is driving the people closest to them away, they may be more willing to seek help. Taking a step back from an addict may also be a healthy move for you, since another person’s addictive behavior can take an emotional and psychological toll on those around them in addition to themselves.
5. Help your family member to seek rehab or drug counseling.
The timetable that it takes to get a loved one to commit to an addiction recovery program is different for everyone. Some individuals agree to rehab more quickly than others. One thing you must realize is that relapse happens, and you may have to encourage your loved one to seek treatment at a drug rehab center on multiple occasions. You can help by looking into different drug counseling options and having information available about substance abuse treatment centers ready when your family member or friend needs it. Just remember that it has to be their choice, not yours, to seek rehab or counseling. Otherwise, they are more likely to fail.
If you or someone close to you is prepared to commit to a treatment at an addiction recovery facility, contact Right Path today.