If you’re the parent, sibling, or family member of a loved one who struggles with addiction, you may be very well familiar with the challenges of when to help, when to let go, when to stand up and when to give up. It’s all too frustrating at times – your loved one doesn’t seem to listen and, when they do, they still don’t act even after promising you many times before. Perhaps you’ve given them everything you can, and now your time, money, energy – and patience – is depleting. See if you can recognize the following excuses many people make for their loved ones in an effort to preserve hope and connection:
- “If I kick him/her out, they will be homeless; they may not make it on their own, and I don’t want to be responsible for that.”
- “Talking to them about their addiction seems to only make things worse, so the only thing I can do is provide them with money, love, and support and hope things get better.”
- “I know I shouldn’t have bailed my loved one out of jail, but they would have lost their job and I don’t want that to happen to them.”
- “They said it won’t happen again, and although they’ve lied to me a few times before, they seemed very serious this time.”
- “Maybe tomorrow they will see things differently.”
Enabling is defined as the behavior or protecting others from experiencing the full impact of consequences of their behavior. Many people just like yourself have told themselves the same reasoning that you’ve related to from above, hoping it will preserve their relationship with their loved one and, magically, things will get better. Unfortunately, this can cause you to behave in ways that enable your loved one’s addiction rather than promote their recovery. You may be asking yourself, “If these beliefs aren’t working for me, then what is the next step?”
A 2017 study conducted by researchers in Australia identified several coping strategies that family members of loved ones with an addiction found to be effective. First, families identified seeking evidence-based information as helpful; for example, research has shown that interventions have been very successful in helping a loved one get into treatment. Second, enhancing personal coping strategies such as going to the gym, meditation, counseling and more can help you gain clarity and focus in the midst of chaos. Lastly, seeking a family-support group can help you move forward with your life.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-207-0965 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.