Family and Enabling: When Helping Feeds the Addiction

No one willingly sets out to become a drug addict, and a family doesn’t sit down and make a plan to enable an addict. That simply doesn’t make sense. There is a very fine line between helping someone who is addicted and enabling the addiction to continue. It can be very difficult to separate the two when you are caught in the middle of a challenging situation.

Are You Enabling Your Family Member?

If you have an addict in the family, how do you know you are enabling him or her?  You might even be wondering, “What is enabling?” Think about the kinds of things you do for your loved one. Are they things he or she can’t do or things that he or she could do, but won’t? If you end up doing things for your family member that fall within the latter category, you may be enabling an addict.

Here are some examples of enabling that you may have done without realization:

  • Calling in sick for the person
  • Making excuses because your family member can’t or won’t go to appointments
  • Making excuses for your family member’s behavior
  • Ignoring the problem or hoping it will go away
  • Paying bills, rent or debts for your family member
  • Giving or paying for food for your addicted family member

You probably had the best of intentions if you did any or all of these things for your family member. Any time you do something that means your family member doesn’t feel any discomfort from the consequences of being addicted, he or she has no incentive to stop the behavior.

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Drug Intervention to Stop Feeding the Addiction

You are not alone in facing the issue of a loved one who is struggling with an addiction. It’s a difficult situation for any family to face, and the situation is a very complicated one. Many families watch and wait for their family member to make a choice to get better.

Rather than waiting and hoping for a solution, a much better solution to the problem is to get professional help. You can work with a professional interventionist to get your family member to accept help and get treatment for his or her addiction. Check out these Intervention FAQs to learn more about this approach to getting help for people who need it.

Intervention Benefits the Entire Family

The biggest benefit to working with a professional interventionist is that once you pick up the phone to ask for help, you are no longer facing the problem alone. One of the worst aspects to dealing with drug addiction in a family is the guilt and shame associated with this issue. Some family members would rather hide the problem and make excuses for loved ones than face the issue head on.

Drug addiction is a disease that affects people from every walk of life and there is no shame in asking for help when needed. Contact a professional drug interventionist for help today.



Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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