Loving a family member who is an addict is often difficult. You probably have more insight into their past than most people in the world. As a family member, you try to support their growth while continuing to build on their positive behaviors. You have probably been making sacrifices to relieve some of their pain as they struggle through their daily lives.
However, many of the choices family members make end up being enabling actions that end up hurting the addict's recovery and wellbeing. This post will go through some enabling behaviors family members do that slow the growth and recovery of an addict.
Denial and Justification
Family members often deny that their loved one is addicted to drugs. They ignore the reality that someone struggles with substance abuse in their family. They will not encourage treatment believing the addict can control urges.
With this denial comes the justifications the family offers for the addict’s behavior. Many people excuse using drugs or alcohol as a coping strategy as a long-term or situational strategy.
Continuing to Allow Use
Consuming a substance with an addict or allowing them to use at home may seem like controlling the behavior. Instead, this behavior ends up encouraging use and leads to more use.
Ignoring Feelings and Avoiding the Problem
It is important to express your authentic feelings for a person. Many family members will avoid bringing up their concerns. Then if they do bring up a concern with the addict, the addict may dismiss the concern leading to fewer conversations. Not addressing the issue to keep a quiet household is not proactive. The addict needs treatment, not the appearance of being normal. Trying to keep up a false public face shows the addict more shame than any other way. Lying to friends and acquaintances only maintains the problem.
Taking Too Much Responsibility
Taking over more and more everyday chores and tasks from the addict hide the fact that their life is falling apart. Also, giving them money takes away some of the negative consequences an addict needs to experience to understand the results of their behavior.
If any of this sounds familiar, know that you are not a bad person. You are doing the best you can with what you have to help the addict in your life. There are better ways to approach your loved one and support them during their recovery. Harmony Haus is a sober living home for men that helps connect them with resources to support their recovery. Give us a call today at (512) 387-2978 to learn more about our options.