A person who allows a colleague, friend, or family member’s destructive behavior to continue, without saying or doing anything, is enabling.

Enabling can occur either through ignorance or avoidance of an issue, or worse, when trying to “help” through actions such as making excuses for, or covering up evidence of, an addict’s actions. It could also be as simple as making sure they wake up, get dressed, and out the door for work.

While your intentions may be good, enabling does not help anybody in the long run. In fact, what it will do, is allow the destructive behaviors to continue. Why is an addict going to want to change anything if you are always picking up the pieces of their lives for them?


Let’s Break it Down

You might be an enabler if you do any of these . . .

Do you take on the addict’s responsibilities (paying bills, stocking groceries, cleaning) for them?  

Do you ‘cover’ when an addict can’t see to their daily routine or obligations due to hangover, hospitalization, or trouble with the law?

Do you make excuses for the addict’s behavior? Example: Do you pass off public intoxication that has gotten out of hand as stress relief after a long week at work?

Do you say no when asked for bail out money? Or do you jump, getting them out of jail or putting yourself out on a limb to cover a debt they owe?

Do you step in and finish projects when a deadline is looming?

Do you pull out the broom and cleaning supplies following a tantrum episode? Sweeping the broken pieces into the trash can be as neglectful as ‘sweeping issues under the rug’.

Do you make empty threats or promises? Example: How many times have you said, “If you come home drunk again, I’m kicking you out!” but then never followed through? You can only cry wolf so many times before the addict stops listening.

Do you ever say, “If only I’d worked harder or loved stronger, Suzy Q wouldn’t have turned to drugs.”?  Reality check: You aren’t to blame.

Do you follow the philosophy of “If you can’t beat them, join them,” thinking your relationship will be stronger if drink or use WITH them? Reality check: This only leads to two addicts.

Do you avoid conflict and resolution out of fear of the addict becoming angry?

Knowledge is power. If you answered yes to any of the above, then it may be time to step back and assess your own behaviors.


Treatment Now has the resources to help you help your loved one, not enable them.

CALL US TODAY AT 844-438-8689!