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Article Summary


Alcohol and drug addiction affects the entire family unit. Family members are affected in many different ways. Those hurt most often are the family members who love the addict and enable the addiction. This person is called the enabler because they sweep things under the rug so to speak. They pretend there isn.t a problem and hope it will just go away. Unfortunately, the enabler usually gets the brunt of the abuse from the addict because the addict expects so much from them. If the enabler doesn.t come through with the addict.s neediness and constant requests for things, the enabler had better be careful. The enabler has just as many problems mentally and emotionally as the drug addict. The bottom line is they both need help.

Actions of an Enabler

The Actions of an Enabler May Include:

Cover up for a loved one . Provide alibis, make excuses, or complete tasks for them rather than allowing them to suffer the consequences.

Rationalize. Develop reasons why the person.s continued use is understandable or acceptable.

Withdrawal . Avoid contact with the person who has the problem.

Blame . Get angry at the individual for not trying hard enough to control his or her use.

Control . Try to take responsibility for the person.s use by throwing out his or her drugs or cutting off the supply.

Threaten . Say that they will take action (e.g., turning the person in) if he or she does not control his or her use, but not following through when he or she continues to use.

Any time an individual assists/allows another person to continue in their unproductive/unhealthy/addictive behavior, whether actively or passively, they are an enabler! Keep in mind, silence condones others actions. So even when an individual says nothing, aka .minding your own business., they are enabling the unproductive/unhealthy/addictive behavior to continue. Sometimes an individual will say nothing out of fear of reprisal, fear of the other person hating/hurting/not liking them, or fear of butting in where they don.t think they belong. Perhaps even fear of physical violence ... or worse!

The enabler is the rescuer for the addicted person. As long as the problem is continually swept under the carpet by the enabler, the addiction will continue to progress further because no one believes and is willing to confront the fact that there is a problem! Denying the existence of the addiction is a problem that runs rampant in homes where addiction is common place. The longer the addict continues to use, the worse it will be for everyone involved.

Enablers can do something to help the addict, but they're afraid that it will somehow change the addict or that the addict won't love them anymore. In essence, the enabler needs to get help first, so they can then help the addict.

Main Reasons a person is an Enabler

The two main reasons the enabler keeps saving the addict are listed below.

1.) Fear = panic, trepidation, apprehension, terror, afraid of the unknown, etc.

2.) Denial = mentally refuse to believe, and emotionally refute, disclaimer

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