What is Enabling Behavior?
Enabling occurs when friends or family of an addict are actively enmeshed with the addict’s substance use disorder and attempt to micromanage the condition. While enablers are often seen as people with malicious intent who want to bring others down with them, the truth is that most enablers—and most enabling behaviors come from people who genuinely care about the addict.
Examples of Enabling Behavior: Denial
There are many causes for enabling behaviors to surface, but the most common reason for enabling behavior is denial. For many people, it’s not entirely clear when a proclivity becomes an addiction. What’s the difference between someone who really likes to drink and someone who is addicted to alcohol? While many people would agree that it’s when it becomes an uncontrollable urge that causes self-destructive behavior, that’s where you draw the line. The issue is that there is a significant lag time between those behaviors manifesting and those close to the addict coming to grips with them. This is why addiction is often seen as the elephant in the room. Many people can recognize the signs of addiction, it’s just difficult to accept that your friend or family member is an addict.
Caring More About Reputation Than Recovery
As much as we’d like to say it isn’t so, there are many families who attempt to cover up a family member’s addiction because they do not want to tarnish their family image within their circle of friends and other families. This is one of the worst types of enabling because it is socially reinforced by many people and often combines many aspects of other enabling behaviors such as denial.
Not only does reputation management greatly delay any kind of recovery for the addict, but it also creates a highly toxic environment that often does lead to overdosing and/or death. This is a tragic situation that happens to many people, as they are addicted and require help, and the people around them impart nothing but further shame and guilt which reinforces using behaviors in the addict. This leads many addicts to be pushed into even greater levels of danger with their substance abuse than they likely would have alone.
Misguided compassion manifests itself as friends and family members of the addict attempting to help the addicted person with day to day tasks which they should be able to do by themselves. The person helping mistakenly believes that they’re alleviating some stress or burden from the addict’s life which will help them get on their feet. It almost never works out this way though, in most cases, the addict is made less accountable and experiences fewer consequences for their addiction because other people pick up the pieces of their life that would ordinarily serve as indicators that things are going south for them.
Addiction Consulting in Virginia
Addiction is not just something affects the person addicted. It affects their friends and family as well. If you or someone you know has a substance use disorder, get in touch with our addiction counseling specialists at Recovery Care Partner. Our team of highly experienced specialists has helped hundreds of people get on the path to sobriety. We also offer consulting for family members and subsequently, intervention services for a loved one. Give us a call at (240)-206-6324 or get in touch with us on our contact page so you or a friend/family member can be on their way to a healthier lifestyle!Learn More
The road to recovery is one fraught with many perils and traps. You could argue it’s the simplest path in the world, simply do not engage in that which you are addicted to. Of course, simple and easy are two very different things. It is for this reason that relapse is considered a part of recovery itself. While it’s never a good thing, many people do relapse and it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. You’re not a “bad” person for relapsing.
Battling addiction is a high stakes game of management. Understanding your relapse triggers, avoiding situations where you may be offered substances or tempted, as well as keeping yourself busy and healthy are all important factors to addiction recovery. Forgiveness is incredibly important when dealing with addiction—especially when the addiction is more psychological in nature. There is, however, another thing just as important as forgiveness—it’s accountability.
The Importance of Accountability
Accountability is a term that you perhaps have heard many times in regards to work or responsibilities in management. It means to be held responsible for something. There’s no easy way to say this, but you’re accountable for your addiction. It is a difficult thing to say as professional addiction treatment specialists. It sounds harsh, but in truth, it’s one of the most beautiful realizations someone who has suffered from addiction can realize.
Imagine this, for your whole life you’ve battled this thing which ruined your relationships, drained your bank account, hurt your health and inflicted psychological wounds on you. Then, as you’re trying to get better, someone tells you to hold yourself accountable. Emotionally, it may feel as if they are saying it’s all your fault.
That’s not at all what accountability is. Accountability is not the same as finger-pointing, rather, it’s a realization that regardless of the unfortunate circumstances that led to your deepening substance use disorder, recovery starts with you. Really, it’s one of the most empowering things you can realize—that you’re actually in control. As we mentioned with relapse earlier, you may not win every battle you fight, but that it is infinitely better to strive towards a better future than to be stuck, hopeless and addicted. This is also why group therapy is so effective because instead of feeling singled out and isolated, you can share your experiences with other people who can help you feel more accepted and accountable for what you do.
Sober Companion Services in Virginia
Having someone who can help you stay accountable as you get through the initial stages of recovery can be a critical helping hand when beginning sobriety. That is why we offer sober companion services for situations including but not limited to:
- Helping those who live alone and need a headstart in establishing healthy new habits.
- Giving support to people who come from an unsupportive environment.
- Support for those who have travel needs and require addiction supervision
- Accompaniment to various places such as school, social functions, work or doctor’s appointments.
At Recovery Care Partners, our mission is to be a one-stop full support system for those who wish to live a life of sobriety. There is nothing more gratifying for us than seeing the many people who have been taken under our care go on to lead stable and fulfilling lives. One tool in our toolbelt for that is the sober companion service we offer. If you would like to find out more about our sober companion services, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page or give us a call at (240)-206-6324.Learn More