Learn How to Stop Enabling an Addict

This article was written and published by RCA

Help Them Choose a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center

If you have a child who is struggling with addiction you may not know what to do. Do you offer them love and support while overlooking the problems? Or do you draw hard lines and demand change? Do you try to pretend the problem doesn’t exist? Do you hope “it is a phase” or that they will “grow out of it”? Your behavior might actually be enabling the addiction.

As a parent, one of your primary desires in life is to protect and care for your child. However, when dealing with addiction what seems like the right response might actually make things worse. It is important for many parents to learn how to stop enabling an addict so that they can properly address their child’s problem and get him or her the help needed for recovery through drug and alcohol treatment centers.

How to Stop Enabling an Addict–Stop Letting Guilt Dictate Your Actions
When kids are struggling parents often feel responsible for those shortcomings. They may feel that they have failed as parents. Regardless of how your parental actions may have impacted your child, what is important to focus on is how your actions affect them now.

The guilt of feeling responsible for a child’s addiction may cause parents to do a number of things to help. Here are some examples of enabling behaviors parents may have towards their children:

  • Financial Enabling: You have an adult child whose unpaid bills you occasionally pay, a teen who keeps asking for more “spending money.” Each time you alleviate the financial stress they are experiencing you are removing an incentive (the financial stress) to change their situation and you are expanding his or her budget for drug expenditures.
  • Ignoring the Situation: You may think that looking the other way will give your child a chance to put the pieces back together–but the truth is that addiction has a strong grip and your child needs your help more than ever.
  • Covering for Social Failures: You may be getting calls from teachers your child missing school, underperforming, or acting differently. You make excuses to brush over the situation. Or perhaps you are at a family gathering or a party and your child is absent or acting abnormally. You dismiss concerns with a smile and an excuse. Providing this kind of buffer allows your child to continue substance abuse without having to answer for the negative consequences that are associated with it and may allow the problem to go on unaddressed much longer than otherwise.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration 22.5 million people in the U.S. 12 years of age or older needed treatment for substance abuse in 2014. Of those only 4.2 million received treatment, with only 2.6 million receiving treatment in a specialty treatment program. Your child may not seem to want your help right now, but addiction is a disease that affects the body and the mind and is essential that you, as their parent, learn how to stop enabling an addicted child and find them the help they need. Enabling might feel right, but remember that your child is abusing drugs and hurting themselves in numerous ways.

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