There is a fine line between enabling and helping an addicted individual, so let us first distinguish the two. Helping people with an addiction means acting in their best interest. It means paving the path for them to truly conquer this debilitating battle against substance abuse. In most cases, helping entails talking openly about an individual’s substance abuse problem, and further seeking outside, professional help as it is needed: through a counselor, behavioral therapy, or an addiction treatment center.
Enabling, or supporting an addiction, on the other hand, is when a loved one (a parent) makes it easier for the person with an addiction to continue their damaging, drug-using lifestyle. Most often, enabling is an inadvertent act, and is disguised by common, well-intended actions that one feels are actually “beneficial” to the addict. This is where the line starts to blur. Enabling commonly comes in the form of a family member providing help when their loved one should (and is able to) handle the task on his or her own. Continue Reading