If you love someone who abuses drugs or alcohol, you know that the addiction impacts everyone in that person’s life. The ripple effect of having a child, spouse, parent, or loved one in the throes of addiction can cause chaos, confusion, and hurt. You want more than anything to help that person, but you may just be adding to the problem. Read on to make sure that the kind of help you are providing isn’t really causing more suffering.
If you’ve lived with an addict or an alcoholic for a while, there’s a good chance that you have fallen into enabling, or codependent behavior.
Do you ever cover up the truth (read: lie) to protect your addict’s behavior from being discovered?
Call work and give their employer excuses for missed work
Make excuses for why they can’t attend social events
Lie to others about how they losing a job or legal troubles they may have
Do you clean up after your addict, either literally or figuratively?
Clean up drunken or drugged out messes, including vomit, broken bottles, dirty sheets, etc.
Smooth over tense situations they have caused and play the peacemaker
Put them to bed when passed out, turn off the TV, help them undress, etc.
Do you solve your addict’s or alcoholic’s financial or legal problems?
Pick them up or bail them out from jail
Loan them money
Pay their rent or bills
Do you think you are the answer?
You think if you love them enough, you can relieve them of their disease
You feel responsible for what drives them to drink or use
Do you sacrifice your own needs, job, plans, social engagements, happiness, peace, well-being to care for your addict?
More myths of codependency.
It’s hard to see the people we love suffer, but if you are engaging in any of this behavior, you are prolonging your addict’s addiction.
When you are constantly solving problems and coming up with solutions, the addict in your life has no incentive to change his or her behavior. They are not faced with the responsibility or the consequences of their behaviors.
Why would they bother to change when you will take care of it?
Take this quiz to see if you may be co-dependent.
The number one action you can take to support your active addict or addict in recovery is to change your own behavior.
Learn about loving in a new way.
A way that doesn’t support the destructive behavior of addiction. A wonderful resource is Al-Anon which can provide support to family and loved ones of alcoholics and addicts.
If you have a loved one who has entered treatment or is ready to seek help, talk to professionals about how you can best help them help themselves. Pat Moore Foundation has a team of professionals on hand 24/7 to assist you!