Being the parent, family member or even the friend of an addict is an overwhelming and emotional job. You hate to stand by and watch as a person you love self sabotages and destroy’s themselves. Often times loved ones are caught between what role they should play and how to treat the addict in their life.
The line between tough love and enabling becomes easily blurred especially when it comes to addiction. What to you may seem like positive help may actually be what the addict is feeding on to promote or continue their habit. Here are some tips to stop enabling the addict in your life.
As their addiction spins more and more out of control the addict in your life will eventually turn to you for money. In these instances it may to pay a bill or they might tell you it’s for lunch. There is no definite way to make sure the money lent to them will be going towards their drug habit. What you can do instead is offer more tangible solutions such as preparing them lunch or paying for what they need yourself or to be present for whatever they need the money for. Asking for receipts is also another way to ensure the money they spend will not be used on drugs.
The same method can be applied when loaning out your vehicle to an addict. Find other solutions such as carpooling or offer to drop them off. For the parents of a teen addict the same applies, do not enable your teen by purchasing them a car when they are struggling with addiction. By owning or having access to a car the addict will be able to drive to their dealer or use it to even runaway. Drawing the line here lets the addict know you are serious about getting them real help and not to enable their behavior.
Not allowing your loved one especially one who is struggling with addiction a place to stay is one the greatest hurdles family and friends will face. Whether you’re allowing them to stay at home, paying for a hotel or apartment what you really are doing is reinforcing the idea that they will always have you to help avoid or fix the consequences of their actions.
Covering up or aiding an addict from their consequences prevents them from hitting their lowest point, which is where most addicts have a moment of clarity and often seek help. It may be hard to watch a love one being arrested or hurt but these are vital moments that can be the lesson they need to understand that they need help.
Just as with any other disease you wouldn’t offer them things that could be a possible harm to themselves and their health. For example, if your loved one has lung cancer you wouldn’t dare give them a cigarette. The same methods apply to addicts, if your loved one is addicted to a substance you wouldn’t offer them money so they can get more drugs.