How to Know If You Are Enabling an Addiction


When family and friends try to “assist” people with alcohol use problems, they often facilitate the disease’s progression. Enabling is the term used to describe this strange behavior. It can manifest in various ways, all of which have the same effect: allowing the individual to evade the repercussions of their habits.

Enabling encourages someone with a drinking problem to continue their harmful behavior, safe in the belief that no matter what they do, help will always be available.

What is Enabling

Contrary to popular belief, enabling a drug addict entails more than just giving them money or a place to stay. You are facilitating the addiction whenever you act in a way that prevents the addict from facing the full weight of the problem.

Signs That You Are Enabling an Addiction

The first step in overcoming enabling is to identify it. The following are some indicators that you’re enabling: 

  • Avoiding the issue: Avoiding the problem is a frequent coping strategy. Instead of confronting the person about their actions, you might avoid it. The difficulty is that, while avoidance may be a quick fix, it might exacerbate the condition over time.
  • Ignoring the existence of a problem: Admitting a loved one has a problem can be challenging. This is especially true if the other individual denies having a problem. While you may be aware that there is a problem, it can be tempting to trust their denials or convince yourself that the matter isn’t as serious as it appears.
  • Resentment: If you’re feeling resentful, here’s what you should do. Even if you continue coming up with new strategies to protect your loved ones from the negative consequences of their alcohol or drug use, your resentment of having to do so may grow.
  • Ignoring or tolerating the individual’s troublesome behavior: You can try to ignore your loved one’s signs. For example, you may discover proof that they have been drinking or doing drugs in your home but choose to overlook it rather than confront them about it.
  • Making excuses or covering for them to avoid facing the consequences: You may, for example, call their job and claim they are ill when they are too hungover to work.
  • Providing financial aid that encourages problematic behavior: You may pay their bills that they forgot about or give them cash that they use to buy booze or drugs.
  • Sacrificing your wants to care for the other person: This could include going through financial problems to continue financially supporting the other person or neglecting your health to physically support the other person.
  • Assuming the other person’s tasks: If the other person is unable to complete their daily responsibilities, calling upon yourself to fill in is one form of enabling. Cleaning, laundry, and child care are examples of domestic tasks that can be done.

If You Think You’re an Enabler, Come See Our Experts for Assistance.

If you or a relative is worried that you’re supporting a drug addict and don’t know where to turn for help, Skyward Treatment can help. To learn more, contact our online team.

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