The 4th of July isn’t just about celebrating America’s independence from the British Empire. It’s also a time for family reunions and neighborhood get-togethers. Because parties and BBQs are so common during 4th of July, it makes sense to stop and consider the experience of a loved one struggling with addiction.
Before cracking open a beer this 4th of July weekend, take a moment to think about how the challenges of substance abuse are affecting you and your family.
Learning How to Stop Enabling
Family members are often the first ones to offer help when a loved ones is dealing with substance abuse problems. Unfortunately, they can just as quickly prolong their loved ones’ bad habits through enabling behaviors. It’s vital to understand the difference between enabling an addiction and offering real support as a family member recovers from substance abuse.
Recognize Enabling Behaviors
You may feel the urge to help a loved one who is going through a difficult time, and that’s natural. However, it’s equally important to avoid enabling loved one while they are in the midst of a drug addiction.
“Enabling” describes any behaviors that minimizes the consequences of a person’s substance abuse. For example, family members who cover for their addicted loved ones when they miss school or work is a prime example of enabling.
It’s vital to recognize when an addicted individual needs a wake-up call to his or her situation. More often than not, enabling behaviors do nothing to help the individual with the addiction, but rather encourage them to continue their destructive behaviors because they don’t experience the consequences. Enabling always makes an addiction easier to maintain.
Talking About the Problem
This 4th of July, think about how you and your loved ones may be enabling the addictions of others. This may include paying their bills after they’ve spent their money on drugs, bailing them out of jail, lying to cover their addictions or taking care of daily chores like washing dirty laundry.
The same family members who are quick to help a struggling loved one are also the individuals most likely to be taken advantage of by an addict. Addiction turns even the most benevolent people into masterful manipulators, and codependency can quickly take root and create an unhealthy relationships.
In a codependent relationship, one person over-functions to compensate for the other person’s under-functioning out of fear of losing the under-functioning person for good. This behavior is incredibly unhealthy and destructive and almost always the result of enabling patterns.
Seeing a Brighter Future in Recovery
The 4th of July is a time to think about how the struggles of the past can lead to a better future. Take time this holiday to consider how you can break enabling cycles hurting you and your loved ones. Once someone close to you has acknowledged his or her substance abuse problem, healing can begin, but only after enabling patterns have stopped.
Understand the Family’s Role in Recovery
At Family First Intervention, we recognize the pivotal role that family members play in overcoming substance abuse. We also know how important it is for family members to learn, identify and correct enabling behaviors. The most effective treatment plans involve family counseling and are aimed at addressing these behaviors directly.
Honesty is crucial in treatment. At Family First Intervention, our goal is to help families stop enabling and start providing more constructive support to their struggling loved ones. This 4th of July, think about how the difficulties of the past have helped you overcome ongoing challenges, and focus on the ways you can help the entire family help break free from substance abuse.
See more of our site if you have further questions about breaking cycles of enabling.