If you are dealing with a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, then you know just how hard it can be to be supportive while not enabling them through the worst time of their life. There is a fine line between being supportive of your loved one and them being codependent on you when they are using drugs or alcohol. It’s a frustrating time for everyone involved, especially if you have never had to deal with addiction before.
An individual struggling with an addiction needs the support and help of their family, friends, and coworkers. If you aren’t sure of how to act with your loved one or are wondering if what you are doing is the right thing, read on for some important information.
When your loved one is struggling with an addiction to either alcohol or drugs, keeping a close relationship with them is very important in helping them get over the addiction. Unfortunately, many relationships cause the opposite effect when codependency is a problem. When an addict is codependent on a loved one it can be difficult for them to stick to a treatment plan. This can cause them to relapse and continue on a self-destructive path.
Codependency occurs when one person in a relationship, whether it is a partner, sibling, friend, or parent, relies heavily on the other person for emotional or physical needs. For example, a parent may allow their addicted child to become dependent on them by supplying them with the money they need to purchase drugs or alcohol. This codependent behavior makes it harder for the addict to get the help that they need since they have someone who they know will help them when they need it. Codependency is also known as enabling. Many enablers don’t change because it feels better to have someone depend on them than to address the underlying issue of addiction.
How You May Be an Enabler
When someone you love is addicted to drugs, it can be difficult watching them continue on a downward spiral. It’s important for them to know that you still love and care for them but that you won’t support their behavior any longer. If you are allowing them a place to stay while they are actively using or are repeatedly giving them money for drugs and alcohol, you are enabling them. However, enabling an addict goes deeper than just a room to stay in or money for drugs. If the addict leans on you for support during their addiction and you agree with the reason why they are using, then this is enabling behavior. For example, an addict abusing prescription pain pills will often use the excuse that they need them for an injury. If you continuously agree with their reasoning and never challenge their thought process, you are enabling them to continue using.
How to Be Supportive
It’s difficult, but not impossible, to support an addict without enabling them. Take a look at the following steps if you are walking the fine line between codependency and support.
Get educated about addiction- You can’t help a person if you have no idea what they are going through. No, you can’t really walk in their shoes. But you can take the time and energy to learn more about this disease and what your loved one is going through. Research the drug or drugs they are on, what they do, how they affect an individual, and what you can do to help.
Get help yourself- If you have a codependent relationship with an addict, then you have been dealing with a lot of heartache, anger, frustration, and sadness. You can’t help someone if you are constantly giving to someone who does nothing but take. Check into local resources to find help for yourself, such as addiction support groups in your area that offer therapy for friends and family of an addict.
Let the addict know you are there- You CAN support your loved one without enabling them. Explain that you can no longer support their decision to use but that you will be there when they are ready to get clean. They need to know that you still love them. You can hate the disease while loving the addict, an important point to remember. Talk to them before they hit rock bottom, and let them know you are ready to support their recovery.
Call for Additional Assistance
If your loved one is ready to get help, we are here to provide it. Give us a call today at 833-610-1174 to learn about our services.