How to Quit Enabling People

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The word “enabling” is frequently used in reference to a relationship with an addict. It could be a gambler, a compulsive shopper, or a drug or alcohol addict. Instead of the addict, enablers experience the consequences of the addict’s actions. The addict’s natural consequences for their actions are removed through enabling. Professionals advise against it since research has shown that the most effective motivation for change comes from an addict who is suffering the negative effects of his addiction on his life. This is frequently the moment the addict “hits bottom,” a phrase used frequently in Alcoholics Anonymous.Codependents frequently feel obligated to fix other people’s issues.

They frequently wind up taking on the obligations of the irresponsible addict if they are associated with addicts, especially drug users. They initially behave out of a well-intentioned wish for assistance, but as their addiction progresses, they increasingly act out of desperation. As a result of the unbalanced family dynamics, the addict increasingly underperforms and the clean partner increasingly overperforms. Due to the expectation that the over-functioning spouse will continue to set things right when the addict doesn’t fulfill his or her obligations, this leads to animosity on both sides.

The Al-Anon program advises against doing for the alcoholic what they are capable of accomplishing themselves. Nevertheless, codependents feel bad for not helping someone, even if that person is the one who caused the problem and has the ability to fix it. Saying no to requests for assistance is much more difficult for codependents. The pressure to provide for others can be particularly great when it comes from a struggling or irate addict who typically manipulates others to meet his or her wants.Giving money to an addict, gambler, or debtor is an example of enabling. Other examples include fixing damage the addict caused to shared property, lying to the addict’s employer to hide absences, keeping the addict’s commitments to others, answering their calls and making excuses, or getting the addict out of jail.

Addicts frequently lose track of what they are doing when they are drunk. There could be outages. In order for them to understand how their drug usage is hurting their lives, it is crucial to leave the evidence unaltered. As a result, you shouldn’t wash dirty sheets, wipe up vomit, or put a drug user to bed. Although it may seem cruel, keep in mind that the addict was the root of the issue. Because the addict is suffering from an addiction, making accusations, nagging, or placing blame is pointless and cruel. All of these inactions ought to be done in a straightforward way.

It’s challenging to stop enabling. It’s also not for the weak of heart. Along with the likelihood of resistance and potential revenge, you can also be concerned about the results of inaction. You might worry that your husband will lose his work, for instance. However, the biggest inducement to seek sobriety is losing one’s employment. You might be worried that the addict will get into a car accident, or worse yet, pass away or harm themselves. When a mother worries that her kid might perish on the streets, knowing he is in jail might be a cold solace. On the other hand, a suicidal alcoholic who has since recovered claimed that if his wife hadn’t saved him once more, he wouldn’t be alive today.

You might have to choose between short-term agony and long-term suffering, which delays the addict’s acceptance of their own actions. To not enable while unsure of the outcome demands a lot of faith and guts. Even after counseling and multiple rehabs are attended, enabling can perpetuate an addiction. Not all addicts recover. The 12 Steps are a spiritual program because of this. They start with the realization that you have no control over the addict since that person needs to want to get sober on their own.

It’s critical that you start reclaiming your sense of independence and do everything in your power to prevent letting the addict’s drug use put you in danger so that you don’t have to unnecessarily experience the effects of their drug use. It is dangerous to let the addict drive you or your child when they are intoxicated. On the other side, acting as the designated driver offers the addict full permission to use drugs or consume alcohol. A spouse could decline that enabling role by driving a different vehicle. The addict may need to pay attention if they are charged with DUI.

To deal with an addict’s unreliability, I always advise having a Plan B; otherwise, you risk feeling victimized. Attending a 12-Step group or even remaining home to finish a book can be Plan B in some situations. It’s crucial that you make a deliberate decision so that you don’t feel coerced or abused.

It’s a good idea to carry out plans, such attending social events and counseling appointments that the addict cancels at the last minute. This prevents the addict from trying to control the family. After some time in recovery, one spouse decided to stay on vacation with the kids when his addict wife abruptly made the decision to go back home. It was the first time in years, he later recalled, that he hadn’t been obsessing over her. Another instance had a drunken husband who started fighting an hour before dinner guests were due to arrive. Unless they were not invited, he threatened to leave. He stormed off and hid in the bushes when his wife objected, leaving his wife to have fun.He was embarrassed and never used that trick again.

Because codependents typically put themselves last to meet the needs of others, fix their issues, and take on more than their fair share of responsibility in relationships and at work, enabling affects all codependents. Examples include a woman hunting for work for her boyfriend, a man paying the rent for his girlfriend, or a dad taking care of duties that his child is capable of or ought to be performing. The first steps in eliminating enabling are frequently learning to be assertive and setting boundaries. See How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits for more information.