Help for Parents Who Are Enabling Addiction Tough Love vs Enabling

Sean Daniels is a person in long-term recovery who runs the Recovery Project at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. His play “The White Chip” is scheduled to reopen off-Broadway in February. I hope the toxicology results for Perry, whatever they are, give his family some answers.

  • Setting boundaries feels like a punishment, a rejection, or an abandonment of the person they love.
  • In other words, “catch them being good.” Maybe your loved one shows up to a family dinner sober, texts you that he will be late coming home or pays back the money he owes you.
  • The consequences of the individual’s behavior can affect the entire family, so it is important to find a way to balance these hard choices with the reality of what is safe and acceptable for the rest of the family.
  • Families often act out their beliefs and dysfunction based on their family of origin and learned behaviors that occurred during childhood.

“A parent might allow their addicted child to live with them because they will at least know where they are and that they’re safe,” Sternlicht says. When you try to control someone who has a substance abuse problem, it becomes a power struggle, and the enabler tends to lose that battle. Enabling is essentially love turned to fear, and help turned to control. With a solid understanding of what enabling is, and what it is not, there is hope for families who are acting out this pattern. An experienced individual and/or family counselor can be a valuable source of support for anyone who is looking to break enabling patterns.

Enabling an Addiction

He or she may gradually accept a self-concept that includes these negative traits, destroying self-esteem and rendering the person even less likely to suddenly do a 180 and become responsible and self-sufficient in the future. The enabled person may essentially be prevented from building the skills and motivation he or she needs in order to practice responsibility and reach his or her full potential. Because the enabler(s) will always solve problems for them, the enabled person does not learn how to solve their problems themselves. As a parent, knowing how to help an adult child with addiction can make a tremendous difference. Being careful not to enable, helping them find a treatment program, and attending therapy and support groups together are all ways to help support their recovery. After all, enablers want to help their loved one, too, and codependency might feel like healthy support.

  • I have seen people go to addiction treatment because of a court case, job requirement, a relationship in jeopardy, physical health problems, nowhere else to live, and family interventions.
  • You cannot force an adult child to go to rehab unless they are a danger to themselves or others.
  • What is interesting is they have no idea who they are mad at, and it isn’t the one with addiction and mental health problems; it is the primary enabler.
  • At Recovery First in Florida, all levels of care are available, making transitions between levels a comfortable and convenient experience for patients.

It is also difficult to see the behavior as enabling when you are close and involved. If you have an adult child with a substance use disorder and you are trying to help manage their situation so that they don’t get into more trouble, it can feel like you’re simply doing your job as a parent to help or fix it. 8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care. He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.