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Signs You Are Enabling An Addict


signs of enabling

When trying to cope with a loved one who has an addiction, friends and family members often want to help by giving support, love, and encouragement. Some might even start doing tasks or provide financial support to the person with the addiction.


Although these actions come from wanting to help and protect the person with the addiction, they can actually make it harder for them to get better. This is because they don't have to deal with the consequences of their actions, and they might not feel the need to get help or change for the better.



Signs of Enabling


Enabling behaviors can include making excuses for the addicted person, providing financial support, covering up their substance abuse, or rescuing them from the negative effects of their addiction.


Recognizing signs of enabling can help family members and loved ones take steps to stop enabling behaviors and encourage the addicted person to seek help and make positive changes.


  1. Lying to cover up the addicted person's behavior, or making excuses for the behavior.

  2. Providing financial support that, in turn, enables the person to continue their addictive behavior.

  3. Taking on responsibilities or tasks that the addicted person should be handling themselves.

  4. Rescuing the addicted person from the consequences of their actions.

  5. Ignoring or downplaying the severity of the addiction.

  6. Failing to establish boundaries or enforcing consequences for the addicted person's behavior.

  7. Continuously helping the addicted person out of tough situations.

  8. Neglecting one's own well-being or needs to cater to the addicted person.

  9. Fear that the addicted individual may leave you, or leave the safety and security you are trying to provide for them. 

  10. Feeling guilty or responsible for the addicted person's behavior and actions.



How to Break the Cycle of Enabling


Love and support from family and friends is an integral piece of the healing puzzle, but that love and support is not enough to fight addiction by itself - and may be hurting the situation when it turns into enabling. 


Take action against enabling behaviors:


  1. Recognize and understand which actions contribute to enabling the addicted person.

  2. Establish clear boundaries regarding what behaviors are acceptable and what consequences will occur if those boundaries are violated.  Stay consistent in enforcing boundaries, even when it’s challenging.

  3. Refrain from covering up for the addicted person or making excuses for their behavior. Leave messes as they are, and hold them accountable for their actions.

  4. Seek support for yourself and reach out to support groups, therapists, or counselors who can provide guidance in breaking the enabling cycle.

  5. Encourage the addicted person to seek treatment for their addiction with therapy, support groups, or rehab programs.


Breaking the cycle of enabling requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to the addicted person's long-term recovery and well-being. It can be challenging, but it’s crucial for the addict to understand the impact of their actions.



Getting Help For Addiction


While addiction recovery can be challenging, it is achievable with the right resources and support. If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.


At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 


To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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