ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are You An Enabler? 5 Signs You're Enabling Your Loved One's Addiction

Updated on March 3, 2018
katleigh profile image

Katleigh is an avid education writer with an emphasis on early childhood education and alternative education methods.

Addiction affects not just the abuser, but their family and friends. As a loved one, it can be difficult to accept that the addict has a problem so enabling behaviors become a coping mechanism. This is often done with the best of intentions but only furthers the problem, allowing the disease to progress and take over more of your life and the life of your loved ones. If you are worried that this may be the case, below are five warning signs you are enabling your loved one's addiction.

It's easy to blame yourself or others for the addiction to make the addict feel better, but you're quickly see the pieces fall apart.
It's easy to blame yourself or others for the addiction to make the addict feel better, but you're quickly see the pieces fall apart. | Source

1. Projection

You begin to project blame on others or yourself instead of recognizing the addict's actions. While pointing fingers solves nothing, an addict can't get better until they take responsibility for their own actions. This may also manifest itself as being overly harsh on others with similar problems, especially strangers or people you see on TV. It's much easier to talk about how terrible the drug addict is on the big screen than to have a conversation with the person beside you. The truth is, 9% of Americans needing treatment for substance abuse are receiving it, leaving 20.5 million people still in need. Your loved one is not alone, and neither is your family, but the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem so that you can be the one to fix it.

2. Lies

You or your family has begun to lie to cover up the perceived shame of having a family member or friend with an addiction. Many families lie to cover up their addicted loved one's life, pretending that everything is "normal" and things are going as they should. Addiction is then seen as shameful by the addict and it makes it even harder to get the help they need.This causes many to bottle up their emotions and not work out the real issues. The constant strain lies and deceit can bring to a family are heartbreaking.

Placing priority on a loved one's addiction can quickly cause a domino effect in a relationship.
Placing priority on a loved one's addiction can quickly cause a domino effect in a relationship. | Source

3. Prioritizing the Addiction

The addict's perceived needs become more important than your own, even if this means struggles at work or in your own marriage. It is natural and healthy to feel the urge to help others in their time of need, but when one person's needs are met while an entire family crumbles around them, there is a big problem. Addiction will quickly consume not only their life but yours as well.

Your family and your well being comes first. An addict will always put their addiction first, it's an important element on the disease. By enabling their habit you are only hurting their long-term recovery.

If you're working harder than the addict to stop the addiction, you might be enabling them and fooling yourself.

What kind of addiction does your loved one have?

See results

4. Fearing the Addiction, Not Loving the Addict

You act out of fear - not love - in attempts to keep in touch and prevent losing your loved one to addiction. This enabling behavior can spiral out of control quickly and cause significant financial and emotional strain on a family. While well-intentioned, many loved one begin to feel like they are losing the person they used to know, so they give in for hopes of saving them from themselves. Addicts, depending on their addiction and mental state, can also act out in aggression towards their family members and friends. Sadly, this often results in distraught loved ones giving in for their own safety. This is not an act of love, but one of fear and needs to be addressed as such.

Often, it starts with a few spare dollars for a meal or a cell phone card. This can quickly turn into bailing a drug addict out of jail or paying a gamblers' debt. You worry for their safety and want to make sure they still eat and have a way to contact you. Before you know it, you're paying for hotels and inadvertently, maybe even the source of their addiction.

Addiction has many faces, but it is common for the loved ones of an addict to grow to fear the addiction and forget about the addict behind the disease.
Addiction has many faces, but it is common for the loved ones of an addict to grow to fear the addiction and forget about the addict behind the disease. | Source

5. Ignoring the Addiction

Simply choosing to ignore all the signs of addiction only allow the addict to continue in their own disease. This is perhaps the most common enabling behavior and maybe the most detrimental. You may attribute an obvious, negative change in lifestyle as a "phase" or ignore it entirely. Sadly, addiction is a progressive disorder, and like any other disease, ignoring the symptoms will only make it worse. The sooner problem is addressed - and recognized as a problem - the easier treatment and recovery will be.

Do you believe that addiction is a disease?

See results

Have you ever had experience with a loved one who had an addiction? How did you avoid these enabling behaviors, or did you have to learn from your mistakes?

© 2017 Katleigh Merrier

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • katleigh profile imageAUTHOR

      Katleigh Merrier 

      13 months ago from Georgia, United States

      Addiction can take over peoples lives; I've lived with people addicted to all kinds of things. While substance abuse is most prominent and receives the largest bit of media attention, people can struggle with all kinds of addiction.

    • katleigh profile imageAUTHOR

      Katleigh Merrier 

      13 months ago from Georgia, United States

      Thank you for reading! I've seen this happen to several people in my life, who acted out of fear for the addict's potential actions rather than love for the person behind the addiction.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      14 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Fearing the Addiction, Not Loving the Addict." That is brilliant. I've never heard it expressed like this. Thank you.

    • Emilea Andrews profile image

      Emilea Andrews 

      14 months ago from UK

      i had a partner once, addicted to video games, i didnt know how bad it was til i got of our relationship

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)