On Enabling and Drug Abuse

Drug abuse can be difficult not only for the user, but for their close friends and family as well. Oftentimes, these loved ones feel responsible for contributing, in some way, to the user’s drug addiction. In some cases, this contribution can be considered “enabling.”

What is Enabling?

By definition, to enable means to give someone the power or ability to do something. When in reference to drug abuse, enabling can mean that an action performed by a loved one condones the user’s addiction, whether that was the intention or not. Enabling can vary in degree, from simply ignoring the situation to unintentionally supporting the abuser’s habits.

Signs of Enabling

Like drug abuse, the act of enabling can be difficult to stop. Emotions usually get in the way of the loved one’s ability to stop enabling the addict. Under most circumstances, loved ones may not even realize that they are encouraging the actions of the user.

For instance, simply ignoring the behavior of the drug addict can be considered enabling. This is because the loved one is not taking action to help the addict get the proper substance abuse treatment that they may need. By ignoring the addict’s actions, the loved one is giving the addict the opportunity to continue their habit.

Along with ignoring the addict’s behavior can be the refusal to share emotions. If the loved one is having a difficult time with telling the addict how their behavior negatively affects others, the abuser may continue to use drugs.

Resenting the addict can result in negative tension in the relationship and prevent the loved one from getting the addict proper drug abuse treatment. More often than not, drug abusers are not continuing their habit out of spite for their loved ones. It can be difficult to not get frustrated with the situation, but instead of enabling the user, the loved one should seek professional help.

If the loved one finds themselves lying in order to cover-up the addict’s actions or wrongdoings, this could be considered enabling. In a way, this is protecting the addict from the negative consequences that comes from their drug addiction, thus providing them with a safe environment in which they can continue their habit. Blaming others for the actions of the addict can have a similar effect on the situation, further unintentionally supporting the addict’s habits.

How to Prevent Enabling

Despite how good the loved one’s intentions might be, enabling the addict’s habit is always a possible result from any action the loved one might take. The only way to prevent enabling is to try and help get the proper drug abuse treatment for the addict. By doing so, the loved one is helping the addict in a positive way, as opposed to enabling them.

If you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction and are seeking drug abuse treatment, please visit our website or contact us today for more information about our programs.