When you have a loved one who is struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders, it is difficult to know how to properly help them. Many people make the mistake of enabling their loved one’s addiction rather than supporting them in their sobriety struggle. These are 5 signs that you may be enabling your loved one to continue their destructive behavior.
Providing Them with Shelter
Making sure your loved one has a safe place to stay seems like it is a noble and positive action. However, if you are providing shelter to someone who is abusing alcohol or using drugs, then you are making it easier for them to continue their destructive behavior. Accountability is important for someone who is trying to get sober. For the family member, there is a fear that their loved one will end up homeless, in jail, or dead if they don’t help.
It is important for family members to take an active role in supporting their loved one in their recovery process. Aspire Counseling Services can help family members to learn how to be supportive without enabling their loved one. Learning how to be supportive but still require accountability from their loved one is important and a necessary step in the recovery process.
Providing Them with Money
Most people who are struggling with alcohol or substance use issues would not be able to sustain their destructive habits if they were not receiving financial assistance from someone. Drugs and alcohol are costly, and sustained use typically leads to an inability to function well enough to maintain steady employment. Because of this, they rely on others for food, shelter, and money to purchase more drugs or alcohol. They may also steal cash or valuables from their loved ones to maintain their habit.
The substance user will have no incentive to change if others continue to provide for their basic needs. They must learn that there are consequences for their actions, and until they must face those consequences, there will be no motivation to change. Aspire Counseling Services helps family members learn how to support their loved one without enabling them to continue their destructive behavior.
Lying on Their Behalf
Family members will also frequently lie on their loved one’s behalf to shield them from the consequences of their substance abuse. With good intentions, family members will attempt to protect their loved ones from losing their job or even going to jail. They try to cover up by saying their loved one is “too sick” to go to work, or say they gave them money or an object they really stole. This just leaves the family member feeling guilty and stressed and enables the user to continue with their destructive behavior.
Aspire Counseling Services provides group counseling for family members that allows them to interact with others who are going through the same struggles they are. They can learn from each other and support each other through the difficult process of learning that their loved one must be held accountable for their own actions. The Aspire counselors help family members learn the skills needed to help support their loved ones in positive ways that will help them on their road to recovery.
Rationalizing Their Behavior
One of the most dangerous enabling behaviors is when family members provide their loved ones with excuses to continue to abuse alcohol or use drugs. They attempt to rationalize by saying their loved one is under a lot of stress and deserves a drink, or that they are only using a little because they need the escape from the stress or problems they are facing. We all face stress and struggle with problems. Using drugs and alcohol as an escape typically just causes more problems.
Aspire Counseling Services can help those struggling with drugs and alcohol, and their loved ones, to understand that neither one is helpful in escaping problems. Through Aspire’s counseling and support programs, family members can learn that problems must be faced and dealt with in healthy ways. Through the counseling programs and support groups, family members can learn coping tools to healthily support their loved one on their journey to sobriety.
Putting Your Loved One First
We want to care for, help, and support those we love. Sometimes, that makes us place that other person’s needs before ours. The more helpless and in trouble those people are, the more we want to help. For a parent with a small child, this makes sense, we need to provide the food and shelter they are unable to provide for themselves. However, if someone is able to take care of themselves, but choosing to engage in abusing alcohol and drugs, which are then making them unable to meet their basic needs, it is enabling them to do anything that allows them to continue that behavior. Ultimately, this tends to create resentment in the enabler and creates a very unhealthy and unbalanced relationship.
Family members must learn that they cannot place the needs of the individual who is choosing to do drugs or drink ahead of their own needs. Placing their needs ahead of your own just increases their dependency on you. Aspire Counseling Services will help you to support them without enabling them, so they can live a healthy, independent life. You will learn the tools and techniques to help you hold them accountable for their own actions and yet still show them the love and support they need.
Aspire Counseling Services helps families to support their loved one who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, without enabling their destructive behavior. If you, or someone you love, is in need of support contact Aspire today and help your whole family to heal and live healthy, fulfilling lives.
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