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wife of an alcoholic enabling him to drink

Am I An Enabler?

Am I An Enabler?

Behind many addicts you’ll find enablers. An enabler can be a parent, a spouse or even a child, and usually her intentions are good. The problem is that loving an addict, supporting him and empowering him can often turn into enabling. When you enable the addict in your life you are only making the problem worse and preventing him from getting the help he really needs. So how do you know if you are helping or hurting?

What Is Enabling?
Enabling means taking away or covering up the consequences of your loved one’s addiction. Consequences are powerful motivators. When an addict destroys his relationships, loses his job or spends all his money on drugs he is forced to face the truth about his problem with drugs or alcohol. If you take actions to shield him from these consequences, he need not face the truth and he will likely keep doing what he is doing. You are enabling him.

Put this way it sounds pretty straightforward. When you’re in the thick of it, though, it can be tough to know if you are enabling your addict or helping him. You should help your loved one. You should empower him to get help for himself. Helping an addict doesn’t always mean tough love, but there can be a fine line between caring and enabling.

Signs You Are An Enabler

Here are some surefire signs that you are an enabler:

You make excuses or lie – You cover up or gloss over bad things that your loved one is doing and make excuses to other people. For instance, you might explain away his embarrassing bender at a party by telling everyone that he was sick and the alcohol interacted badly with his cold medicine.

You take on his responsibilities – For an addict, everyday responsibilities are usually the first thing to go south. If you pick up the slack by picking up the kids from school, doing his chores, taking care of his aging mother or anything else he is supposed to do, you are not letting him feel the consequences of his neglect.

You put the blame for his problems on anyone but him – Addicts are great at assigning blame to third parties. It’s part of denial. You may add to the problem by encouraging this or telling him that he’s right. You may even blame yourself. The truth is that he makes his own decisions and he needs to realize that.

You take care of him financially – Addiction costs money. Do you give him more money when he runs out? Do you pay the bills or legal fees? Helping him financially may seem unconnected to his addiction, but it isn’t.

You avoid addressing the problem out of fear – If you are afraid to face the problem of your loved one’s addiction because you are afraid of a fight or that he will leave you, you are enabling.

How To Stop Enabling And Start Helping

If you recognize the enabler in your habits, it’s time to stop. Start with a conversation about the problem. Stop ignoring it. Tell your loved ones that things will change from now on. You will no longer take care of his responsibilities. You will no longer give him money. What you will do is support and love him. Offer to be there as he gets help or goes to rehab. Tell him and show him that you are there to help and support, but that he needs to get help. Once he starts to really feel the consequences of his addiction he will start to realize the extent of his problem.

If you or a loved one needs help with an addiction, contact us at 1-866-391-6530 today.


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Five Helpful Ways to Support Your Spouse in Recovery

wife of an alcoholic enabling him to drink

Five Helpful Ways to Support Your Spouse in Recovery When your partner is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, it can become very stressful on you as well. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is one step in the right direction, but recovering from addiction will have its own hardships as well. A tough time is ahead even in total sobriety. A typical question that a spouse may have is “How can I support my husband/wife in their recovery from addiction?” Here are Five helpful ways that you can offer your support to them.

Allow Them to Follow their Program  First and foremost, you have to understand that for a while, it is necessary for your loved one put their sobriety first in their life. This can cause some spouses to feel jealous or left out, as their spouse goes to meetings and begins to meet new friends. Do not become jealous! Recovery is a long process and in the beginning, it needs to come first over anything else. Understand that you have to let them follow their program, be with a sponsor or counselor, and attend all of the meetings. You must be supportive in this. Try not to be too involved. This can have a negative response in the beginning of treatment. If your partner wants to share with you any information about how things are going in their program, they will. If they do not want to share things about how their meeting went, or what they talked about with a counselor, don’t take it personal, just continue to give your support and encourage them as they follow their program.    

Take Care of Yourself It is understandable that you are hurting from your partner’s substance abuse as well. The alcohol and drug rehab program will help you and your family by providing workshops, educational/emotional support and therapy for families.. As your loved one follows their program, you too will have to take care of yourself. Sadly, in most families where drug abuse is happening, family dysfunction, unhealthy roles and boundaries have been already been established. By getting help for yourself, you can learn to re-create the healthy boundaries and establish the new roles of you and your spouse. Find your Common Ground and Build on it It does take time to build trust real back. It will take time to heal those wounds. As you spend more time doing things together, it will act as an ointment towards these past hurts. Find a something, in your life that you and your spouse in can enjoy together in their recovery. Plan a night each week as a type of date night. Go out to dinner and see a movie. If you have kids, find common ground activities that you can all be involved in together as a family. Once you begin to enjoy these new life experiences with your spouse, it can help with the adjustments that come with addiction recovery. In time, it will help to heal past wounds and hardships.    

Do Not Blame Yourself There is one thing you will learn is how to handle your own emotions when it comes to your spouse’s drug addiction christian drug rehab admissionsrecovery. You can’t take everything personally, because this will cause you to be be faced with even more problems in the recovery process. Your relationship will most certainly change to some extent, with a sober spouse. In the future, there may be a few set backs, but you should never take the blame for any of these situations. Your partner’s recovery does involve you, but their sobriety is totally about them. When bad things begin to happen, or the old habits and even during a relapse, you have to understand the nature of the addiction. This is not your fault. Continue to try to support them and encourage them to get the proper help they need.    

Be Patient Your spouse may not become the person you were expecting them to be right away. Treatment takes time. Recovery takes time. Your patience can be the key. It might be a long process before they start to live up to your expectations. There can be a bit of an adjustment phase to go through after they have completed alcohol or drug rehabilitation. This can be frustrating. Please be patient with them. You will be moving at different paces when it comes to the recovery process and with your relationship. Be patient.  

For more information please contact us at  1-866-391-6530

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