Addiction is a disease that affects the person with the substance abuse issue and his or her entire family. Often, families try to help a loved one who is struggling with addiction and end up enabling them instead. When you consult an intervention specialist for help with a loved one’s addiction, you also get help for the family as well.

What is Enabling an Addict?

Families enable an addict when they step in and don’t allow him or her to experience the natural consequences of their actions. No one expects to have to deal with an addicted relative at some point in their life, and few families are well prepared for this type of situation.

The family may be hoping that the situation is temporary and that their loved one is simply going through a rough time or is under a lot of stress. The family members may feel that they are helping by doing one or more of the following:

• Calling in sick to an employer for the addict
• Paying the addict’s rent, cell phone or other bills
• Bailing the addict out of jail
• Giving the addict cash
• Buying groceries for the addict
• Providing child care for the addict
• Giving the addict a place to stay temporarily
• Allowing the addict to live with a family member

All of these enabling behaviors from family members stop the addict from being held accountable for his or her behavior. They allow the addiction to continue and there is very little incentive for a person with a substance abuse issue to change.

Talk to an Intervention Specialist About Enabling Behaviors

There are multiple goals involved when you work with an intervention specialist. One of them is to get your loved one to accept help and go for treatment. Another one is to identify and provide support for family members who could benefit from therapy as well.

Often, by the time a loved one gets treatment for a substance abuse problem, the addiction has been an issue for several years. During that time, relationships within the family have become strained and suffered damage. Family members who have been enabling the addict will need to learn new behavior patterns so that can provide support for their loved one once he or she completes drug or alcohol treatment.