What Is Enabling Behavior? How To Help Without Encouraging

Enabling behaviors can be a common problem for those who are trying to help a loved one struggling with drug addiction. Enabling occurs when well-meaning individuals inadvertently encourage destructive behaviors or provide support that actually helps the addict continue with their addictive patterns. This can ultimately hinder the addict’s recovery and make it more difficult for them to break the cycle of addiction.

It is important to understand that enabling behaviors are not only limited to providing financial support to an addict. There are many different types of enabling behaviors, and recognizing them is an important first step towards helping your loved one achieve sobriety.

Enabling behaviors are actions or behaviors that support and enable an individual’s substance abuse or addiction to continue. Here are some common enabling behaviors and their descriptions:

  • Ignoring or minimizing the problem: Ignoring or downplaying the severity of a loved one’s substance abuse is a common enabling behavior. This often involves making excuses for their behavior, such as attributing it to stress or tiredness.
  • Covering up or making excuses: Enablers often cover up their loved one’s substance abuse by lying to others or making excuses for their behavior. They may call in sick for them or cover for them when they miss work due to substance abuse.
  • Providing financial assistance: Providing money or material resources to a loved one struggling with addiction can be enabling if they use these resources to support their substance abuse. This can include paying their rent or bills or giving them cash.
  • Taking on too much responsibility: Enablers often take on too much responsibility for their loved one’s actions, such as covering up for them, cleaning up after them, or doing their chores. This can prevent the loved one from experiencing the natural consequences of their behavior.
  • Not enforcing consequences: Enablers often fail to enforce consequences for their loved one’s substance abuse, such as allowing them to continue living with them or giving them money despite their behavior.
  • Denying the problem: Denying the severity of a loved one’s substance abuse can be an enabling behavior. This often involves downplaying their behavior or attributing it to something else, such as stress or tiredness.
  • Feeling guilty or responsible: Enablers often feel guilty or responsible for their loved one’s substance abuse and believe that they can fix the problem. This can lead to them taking on too much responsibility or providing financial assistance to try to help.
  • Sacrificing their own needs: Enablers often sacrifice their own needs, such as their own health, finances, or time, to support their loved one’s substance abuse. This can prevent them from seeking help or caring for themselves.

Contact Touchstone to achieve a better quality of life!

At Touchstone Recovery Clinic, we offer a variety of programs to help individuals overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Here are some of our primary programs:

Residential Treatment Program: Our residential program offers a weekly family program, which enables loved ones to participate in the recovery process and learn about addiction. Family members are given the opportunity to directly influence and support their family member’s recovery, and learn tools to help them support their loved one’s sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): This program is designed for individuals who need a more intensive level of care than the outpatient program, but do not require residential treatment. The IOP program includes a minimum of 9 hours of therapy per week, individual and group therapy, and aftercare planning.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): This program provides individuals with a structured and supportive environment during the day, while allowing them to return home at night. The PHP program includes a minimum of 20 hours of therapy per week, individual and group therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning.

Adolescent Substance Abuse Program: Touchstone Recovery Center’s Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is aimed at providing a comprehensive and compassionate approach to help young individuals overcome substance abuse. As a team, we understand that teenagers face unique challenges in today’s world. Our team of experienced therapists and counselors use evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Through a combination of skill-building exercises, group therapy, and family involvement, our IOP empowers teens to take control of their lives and embrace a future that is free from addiction. With our nurturing environment and focus on emotional well-being, we aim to foster resilience and create lasting change for our young clients.

Family Support: Our family support programs include integrated sessions with family members twice a week as part of the individual’s Intensive Outpatient Program, allowing for open communication and support. We also provide medically-based expert advice for family members to reinforce their supporting role in their loved one’s recovery process.

Overall, we provide individualized treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique needs and goals. Our programs focus on evidence-based practices, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and motivational interviewing, to help individuals achieve lasting recovery from addiction.