Individuals struggling with substance abuse issues will often have relationships with others that contribute to their problems. There may be people in their life who are supporting or enabling, their addictions. What is an enabler? Someone who prevents a person with dependencies from dealing with their problems when they should, and who may also cause them to relapse and start abusing substances again, after their initial efforts at recovery.
What is an Enabler?
An enabler is usually someone who acts in one or more of the following ways, in relation to a person with substance abuse issues:
- Supplying them with substances
- Making excuses for them – blaming their situation and other people for their problems
- Ignoring their harmful actions
- Lying or covering up for them when they behave badly
- Prioritizing their needs, at the expense of their own
- Taking on their responsibilities
These behaviors prevent the individual struggling with addiction from facing the consequences of their actions. Enablers allow substance abuse to continue unchecked.
An important part of the rehab process is learning how addiction can be enabled by others, and Sunflower Wellness Retreat’s addiction treatment programs can help you to develop different kinds of relationships.
Why Do People Enable Substance Abuse?
Now, we know how enablers allow people with substance issues to keep repeating their cycle of harmful behaviors, but why do they let this happen? Enabling is an obstacle to an individual’s recovery from addiction, but it is often those closest to them who are most guilty of it. To fully understand “what is an enabler?”, we have to understand their reasons for acting in the way that they do.
Though they might genuinely want to help or protect them, people will enable friends or loved ones with addiction problems if they’re incapable of expressing their own emotions. If someone that you care about is losing control of their actions because of their substance abuse, it can be stressful and traumatic to watch. You might not have a way to process these feelings.
So, if you’re not in touch with your emotions, you can become ignorant of what is driving you to act the way you do. Say someone starts stealing in order to pay for drugs, and their parent covers it up. As much as they’re afraid of what might happen if their child gets caught, they’re also afraid of what will happen to their relationship if they confront them about their addiction. They might also be worried about how their family will appear to others. Instead of dealing with this complex of emotions, they behave in a way that, ultimately, makes things worse for everyone. Besides fear and shame, enablers can be motivated by resentment, guilt, and many other difficult feelings that addiction can trigger.
How Can Enabling Behaviors Be Prevented?
To stop supporting the substance abuse of a friend or loved one, and start supporting them on their road to recovery, an enabler needs the courage to express their true feelings about their addiction problems. This can cause conflict in the short-term, but it’s a necessary step to prevent the situation from getting worse. As their friend or loved one starts to progress on their rehab journey, they’ll come to show respect and gratitude towards their former enabler, for their honesty, for giving them the motivation to change their behavior, and for trusting them to make the right choices.
Build a Better Future with Us Today
At Sunflower Wellness Retreat, our professional therapists offer personalized treatment programs. Available services include:
- Group therapy programs: In small or large groups, people who have struggled with addiction will learn to develop relationships that are supportive and nurturing, with accountability and good boundaries.
- Family therapy programs: These are designed to help both the individual struggling with addiction and the people closest to them. The best possible setting to work out “what is an enabler?”, they will also help to identify other harmful relationship dynamics. This is crucial for a rehabilitation strategy with lasting results.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): We are the only facility in the Kansas City area that provides this.
- Recreation therapy programs: Teach people recovering from addiction how to have fun and relax without substances. Includes arts, crafts, yoga, and more.
Find out “what is an enabler?”, and take back control of your life, by leaving your addictions behind. Get in touch with Sunflower Wellness Retreat at 855.730.8825 today, and let’s plan your journey towards wellness.