Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Families Enable Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction has the ability to ruin family life from the inside out, in addition to a number of social, economic and legal issues. Though the impact on the individual and surrounding family differs with each situation, the problem does not discriminate according to race, class, or gender. In this entry, we will take a close look at some common enabling behaviors.


Any form of drug or alcohol addiction comes with a financial burden. Whether financial troubles stem from an inability to maintain employment or the diminished income due to excessive use, the problem remains the same. If an individual loses their job due to addiction, they may be required to seek financial aid from parents, siblings and friends. Though it is natural for loved ones to wish the addict success, continuing to bail them out will only serve to perpetuate the cycle.

Long story short: An addict without reason to quit using will not stop until they have one.


Some family members may enable addiction by hiding the issue from others within the family circle. A sister who is aware of her brother’s drug addiction but who neglects to inform her parents is enabling the abuse to continue. Choosing to hide or ignore the issue from those who may take action prohibits the issue from obtaining the attention in requires, but does nothing to solve the problem.

Your family member does not need time… They need HELP.


Many types of enabling are complicit or even overt and proactive, but denial is another characteristic of loved ones who enable addiction. By choosing to deny or ignore the issue, family members only fan the flames of addiction. Denial is both a trick and mechanism of the addict and/or codependents, used to divert attention from the issue at hand. 

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