An addiction to drugs or alcohol is a potential deadly problem which affects millions of people from around the globe. Alcohol, prescription medications, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin are just a few of the leading substances which are regularly abused. In the United States, the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that at least 23 million people were in need of some sort of addiction treatment. The survey continued to say that out of these people, only 2.5 million had actually sought help with another 19.5 million believing they felt there was no need for any treatment at all.
While these figures are based only out of The United States, it is safe to say that other countries are facing similar problems. Unfortunately, a vast number of addicts are in denial about their addiction and severity of their abuse. Although denial is often attributed to a deeply rooted issue, enabling goes hand-in-hand with it as well.
Enabling an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be extremely detrimental to the user and their loved ones. Although what may seem like “helping someone” is often a form of an enabling behavior. This can further the addiction and prevent the user from addressing their problem and getting help at a rehab center or elsewhere. Moreover, enabling can lead to emotional, mental, psychological and physical harm. If you are not familiar with enabling and you know someone with an addiction, it is crucial to become familiar with this common behavior. By doing so, you can know for yourself whether you are enabling or helping.
Enabling, also known as codependent behavior, can occur with someone who has an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or even food. An enabler will attempt to remove any natural outcome or consequence which an addict could endure due to their using. The individual is essentially shielded from any kind of harm be it legal mishaps, financial issues, job loss, school failure or withdrawal.
Professional therapists and psychiatrists heavily warn against enabling because “evidence has shown that an addict experiencing the damaging consequences of his addiction on his life has the most powerful incentive to change”. This willingness to change is absolutely vital when it comes to an addiction. Also known as “hitting rock bottom”, this is a time when most drug and alcohol abusers will reach out to a rehab facility. In addition to potential avoidances of getting help, enablers will also suffer the effects of their own actions via the addicts’ behavior. This can become a revolving circle which will gradually worsen overtime.
If you are a loved one of an addict, the therapists at Serenity Koh Samui Rehab Center suggest that you ask yourself the following questions to help you decide whether or not your reactions or actions are enabling rather than helping.
If you answered yes to any of the above, there is a good chance you are enabling a person’s addiction. Although it may seem very difficult to say “no” and force the addict to experience any outcome at hand, this is the best thing you could do for them. By allowing an individual to feel the damage, be it physical or mental, of an addiction, they may truly consider getting sober.
There is a big difference between helping (also known as empowering) and enabling. Helping is doing something for another person in which they cannot do for themselves. Enabling on the other hand is doing something for someone in which they can and should be doing on their own. Think about a parent who gives their child everything they ask for because they want to be a “good parent”. Ultimately, this leads to the child having little to no appreciation for objects and a severe lack of manners or discipline.
As you can see, there is a very fine line between helping and enabling an addiction. Make an effort to think about your own actions or behaviors towards your loved one with an addiction. Write these things down and refer back to them with an open mind. Try to determine where you fall at: helping or enabling. If you’re really not sure or questioning yourself, you are likely enabling. Remember, you can always contact a drug and alcohol rehab for further advice.
As long as the drug or alcohol user is being enabled, it will be much easier to continue being in denial about the problem. The first thing that should happen is for the enabling to stop. From there, it is important to explore any of your own issues with a friend, family member, counsellor or support group.
If someone you know is ready to go to rehab, Thailand is one of the leading countries to offer world class, all inclusive programs at a fraction of the cost. Contact Serenity rehab in Thailand to find out about individually customized holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs.