Enabling Addiction: 6 Things That Permit Addiction Behaviors

Enabling Addiction: 6 Things That Permit Addiction Behaviors

As much as you love the addict and want to help, the truth is that some of the things you do may actually be hurting him. The following six behaviors are enabling and should be avoided. 

  1. Paying his bills. You might be telling yourself that you aren't buying his drugs, so it is okay, but the fact is when you pay his bills, you free up his money for drugs. You might as well just go to the drug dealers with him and whip out the cash. Stop paying his bills. They are his to deal with.

  2. Covering for him. Whether you call his boss and claim he is sick, or don't attend the family reunion because he is too high to go, you are enabling his addiction. Let him handle his life and that means if he isn't going into work he needs to make his own call. No need to call him out to the family. You can just say he chose not to come. Let him figure out what to say when they ask where he was, next time they see him.

  3. Pretending he is sober. Many loved ones of addicts do this. Rather than have a confrontation they pretend they believe the addict when he says he is sober. If he isn't, tell him to leave and not come back until he is.

  4. Giving him pills. If is addiction is to prescription medication and you give him your legally prescribed medications, you send two messages:

    1. I condone your addiction.

    2. Your addiction is more important than the health condition that I have, therefore, I will give up my legitimately needed meds to you. 

  5. Handing him money. You know exactly where it is going. He wants to buy drugs and if you had him any cash, you are enabling him to continue getting high.

  6. Defending him to others. You don't have to run him down, in fact, that it counterproductive. But don't give detailed explanations or excuses for his drug use. This is his addiction, not yours.

Final Thoughts: At some point it will escalate to unmanageable levels and you will be trapped in this enabling cycle that you started. Stop now and let him experience the life of addiction without your safety net.