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6 Signs That You Are Enabling An Addict

by Landmark Recovery

April 25, 2018
A man sitting by the water and wondering if he is enabling an addict

Are you a parent of a son or daughter addicted to opiates-you may be enabling an addict and not even know. Or, perhaps you’re the spouse of someone who’s begun to spiral downhill on a path to nowhere due to frequent binge drinking that borders on a full-blown addiction. No Matter who you are, addiction always hits close to home.

It’s hard to know what to say to the person struggling with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, our words and actions send the wrong message, and we end up encouraging our loved ones to keep using drugs and alcohol when we want them to realize they need to go to an inpatient drug rehab facility. Read these 6 signs that will help you know if you’re promoting an addict’s behavior.


Behaviors That Can Be Enabling

A man sitting by the water and wondering if he is enabling an addict


1. You rationalize bad behavior:

Do you find yourself making excuses for your loved one when he/she falls short of daily responsibilities and doesn’t want to deal with the negative consequences? Do you say things things like, “If his boss weren’t such a jerk he wouldn’t have gotten fired,” or “She only drinks that much when she’s under a lot of stress.”

If you’re constantly blaming someone else, or minimizing your loved one’s drug usage; then you are likely minimizing the seriousness of his/her addiction and making excuses for risky or unhealthy activities.


2. You’re good at ignoring:

Do you notice your loved one engaging in drug use, illegal activities or out-of-character behaviors and not say anything to him/her about it? Do you tend to believe any excuse even when your intuition tells you otherwise?

You could be ignoring facts about drug or alcohol addiction because it’s easier to pretend certain problems don’t exist. The truth is – it’s painful to think about someone you love being an addict because once you acknowledge that a drug issue is real, you have to decide what you’re going to do about it.


3. You hide:

Do you keep your thoughts and feelings about your loved one’s drinking or recreational drug use to yourself out of fear that he/she will get mad at you? Maybe your loved one threatened to leave if you continue labeling him/her as an “addict.”

When you begin to diminish your own beliefs, you’re devaluing yourself; and that isn’t healthy in any relationship, ever.

If you’re worried that voicing concerns about addiction will lead to your loved one criticizing or abandoning you, you could be enabling him/her to continue drinking and using drugs (by saying nothing at all).


4. You’re a great “mom/dad”:

Are you taking care of your loved ones most basic needs and acting like the parent to your spouse, significant other or sibling? Does your addicted family member call you up for food, toiletries, or to be his/her housekeeper?

You probably realize that your loved one is capable of being a responsible and productive grown-up. However, you’re not doing anyone any favors by assuming the caregiver role because he/she is too hungover, drunk, stoned or too tired to take care of themselves. By “always being there” you’re actually feeding his habit, not his stomach.


5. You don’t take care of yourself:

Do you put your loved one ALWAYS before yourself? Do you look at the clock and realize that it’s 4:00 PM and you haven’t made it out of your pajamas because you’ve been busy tending to your addicted loved one?

It’s easy to lose track of the things that make you happy when you’re continually preoccupied with someone else’s substance abuse. You might feel run-down, anxious and depressed because you are always coming to the defense of an addict, and managing his/her life. At the end of the day, there’s no time left for you.


6. Your poker face needs some work:

Do you try to hold tightly to your promises to not rescue your loved one (but always bail him out of jail one last time)?

If you’re frequently giving an addict, “one more chance,” you’re encouraging him/her to keep engaging in reckless and potentially deadly behaviors. Next time, be firm and let your “no” be firm and unshakable.


Next Steps

If you identify with any of these 6 signs then you may be enabling an addict. Make sure to read “5 Tips To Stop Enabling an Addict” for expert guidance on how to stop condoning and supporting your loved one’s addiction.

Addiction destroys our bodies and weakens our spirits. Landmark Recovery is a place where people struggling with chemical dependency problems can find answers to problems that have tormented them for months, years or decades. Our dedicated clinicians, nurses and medical staff will help you or your loved one find solutions that “stick” for a lifetime.

We’re waiting to hear from you. Call one of our caring admissions consultants today to find out about our comprehensive treatment program and to help stop enabling an addict.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.