How to Support an Addict Without Enabling Them

In the United States, more than 19.7 million Americans ages twelve and up suffer from some kind of substance abuse. With so many people battling addiction, it can be challenging to know what to do.

But the real question is, how can you help?

For friends and family looking for a great resource, check out these creative tips on how to support an addict without enabling them.

Read on to learn more.

Understand What It Means to Be an Enabler

An enabler is someone who helps and supports and addict to the point their self-destructive behavior continues without consequence. 

Enablers often begin with a desire to help and transforms into trying to solve and cover up the loved-ones addiction. It’s important to be able to spot the behaviors of an enabler. You may be an enabler is you:

  • Tolerate or ignore troublesome behavior 
  • Make excuses for them
  • Provide financial help
  • Avoid the issue at hand

Instead of enabling former drug addict behavior or recovering alcoholic behavior, focus on empowering the addict in your life. Give this person the power to decide and solve for themselves.

Consult a list of the top drug and alcohol rehab centers for more information.

Build Trust

An important part of the recovery from drug addiction is building trust. Remember trust goes both ways. Prioritize telling the truth and don’t forget to admit when you are wrong or don’t know something. 

If you say you’ll do something, always follow through with your promise. Try to be honest and open about your thought process. 

Be an Effective Communicator

If your loved one is a recovering drug addict, it’s important to be an effective communicator. Remember to actively listen by:

  • Paying attention
  • Providing feedback
  • Being engaged

Try to emphasize your main points using repetition. Don’t forget to be relatable. Be okay with silence and understand lapses in the conversation will occur. Work to find common ground.

Remember to be respectful.

Establish Rules and Boundaries

It’s very important you establish rules and boundaries right away. Be upfront about the reality of the situation and stick to clear and consistent expectations in your relationship with this person. Be direct and name your limits outright. 

Consider your thoughts and emotions. Consult with others you trust and be open about the situation. Try writing down your boundaries on paper for a more tangible and attainable expectation. 

Don’t forget to be honest with yourself. You need to make your own self-care a priority and may need to seek additional support. Give yourself permission to be selfish. 

How to Support an Addict

If you’re trying to figure out how to support an addict without enabling them, it’s important to do lots of research. Remember to consult a medical healthcare professional before trying major changes.

Remember you’re not alone. You’ve got this!

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