Expressing Affection to Addicted Loved Ones Without Enabling Them What is “Enabling”?


Giving someone the ability or resources to do something is enabling. What drives a person to provide this degree of security while enabling another to operate with impunity and entitlement? When you enable it, you are denying the people you care about the resources and attention they require from you. Other people begin to feel resentment against you and the person you’re aiding since you’re devoting all of your time and energy to them. Essentially, you’re blocking the enabled party from doing any further actions. You are hindering their development through the many phases of change. Enabling behaviors, and the reasons why most people participate in them, may be summarized as follows:

  • It is common for enablers to place the needs of an addict above their own, believing this is the only way for both parties to feel better and survive. Family members of addicts who depend financially on the family sometimes find themselves in this situation. Using this tactic, he may maintain his reputation as a victim and draw sympathy from others.
  • The facilitator gains comfort by avoiding confrontation by ignoring harmful behaviors such as excessive drinking and drug use.
  • When a family member feels resentful of a loved one’s addiction, the family member is facilitating that person’s addiction, and as a consequence, the family member makes bad or inefficient decisions.
  • In order to alleviate the addict’s guilt and keep them happy, the enabler provides them with a place to live, a car, an attorney, and so on.
  • Enabling an addict by lying or making excuses is a win-win situation for everyone involved. They feel better because they’ve protected the addict, which makes them feel better.

The Art of Not Enabling: Some Thoughts

Breaking the loop of enabling behavior is not an easy task. Addiction can only be overcome by addressing the root reasons for the behavior that led to it. The analogy between the substance user and the enabler is that the substance user only thinks about what the drugs or alcohol accomplish for them. What purpose does the drug serve, and why is it being used in the first place? In order to change their behavior, enablers need to step back and examine why they feel driven to enable others and what they gain from doing so, and then enroll in a personal recovery program. This is particularly important if they are aware that they are damaging the drug user and others in addition to their health and well-being. If you’re attempting to find out why you’re enabling, here are some things to consider:

  • You should ask yourself why you’re providing money to the addict the next time you do so. What are the benefits of handing up money to them?
  • Consider why you let the addict use guilt or shame to bully and manipulate you the next time they do it. 
  • Next time you cover for someone or make excuses, ask yourself why. As a trade-off, what do you gain in terms of respite from doing things that you know to be unhealthy?
  • Consider your reasons for not seeking their help the next time you decide not to do so. 

For Confidential Support, Don’t Hesitate to Get in Touch with Us at Taylor Recovery.

At Taylor Recovery Center, we’re here to help. There is a narrow line between helping an addict and enabling them, but we are here to support you and aid you in getting them the care they need. We encourage you to contact us immediately to learn more about our services and how you may help a beloved one recover from addiction.