Enabling an addict is inherently wrong, though very easy to get stuck doing if one is not careful. Addiction is a twisted disease and an evil plague, and it can seriously affect parents of young adult children, teen children, or adolescent children who are afflicted with it. This is why drug addiction help tools are so necessary and needed for both parents and their kids alike.
So what is enabling? Simply stated, to enable an addict is to help them out in their life in any way that would assist them to continue to be an addict. This is a tricky concept, so here are some examples. Basically, enabling an addict is providing them with assistance and in doing so keeping them further away from hitting rock bottom and realizing that they need to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. Here are some signs of enabling:
- Giving your child money.
- Providing your child with a place to sleep at night.
- Giving your child a phone.
- Giving your child food.
- Giving your child water.
- Giving your child clothing, possessions, or anything to use.
- Giving your child items of value, even if they belong to your child.
- Allowing your child to take advantage of you in any way.
- Being around your child and providing them with anything that they ask for that is not immediately conducive to them getting help for an addiction.
- Giving your child a ride to school or work.
- Lending to your child the family car, your car, or a spare car.
- Giving your child rent money.
- Giving your child money to buy groceries.
- Buying groceries for your child.
Now granted, doing all of the above may sound like the things that you are supposed to do as the parent. After all, you are the parent, and aren’t parents supposed to help their kids? Well yes, parents are most definitely supposed to help their kids, but parents are not supposed to enable their kids by any means at all.
The addiction science from the National Institute on Drug Abuse tells us that enabling is:
- “When you help a drug or alcohol addict in any way you are enabling them. Drug and alcohol addicts need to hit rock bottom so that they will realize the direction in which their life is headed and so that they will make the decision that it is time to throw in the towel and get help. When you pay for a meal for an addict, that’s one meal they don’t have to worry about, and they can instead worry about how they are going to get high again. When you let an addict stay in your home, that’s one less night on the street, and one more good night’s rest so that they can then tackle the task of finding more drugs the next day. Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing drug and alcohol addiction within the family, you have to apply a tough-love approach and that is putting it lightly.”