Are you Enabling a Drug Addict? Finding Positive Ways to Help them Get Help

Despite wanting to help a drug addict, sometimes it is possible to help too much. When you do this, it is known as enabling. Enabling is a very difficult behavior to overcome, particularly when you care about the addict. Fortunately, there are positive ways to help an addict find the treatment they need.

What is an Enabler?

An enabler allows an addict to continue to use the drug. They even sometimes help them continue the addiction without ever realizing it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an enabler actually encourages the addict to use drugs either by direct action or by indirect action.

They do more than simply allow the addict to continue to use, they actually assist them in their addiction whether they know it or not. If you are enabling a drug addict, the first step is to find treatment instead of allowing them to continue to use.

Finding treatment is easy, just call 800-895-1695.

The Behavior of an Enabler


Giving an addict money when you know they’ll buy drugs with it is an enabling behavior.

There are many behaviors that enablers engage in that help and encourage the addict to continue to use drugs or alcohol. According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, an enabler:

  • lies about the addiction to others
  • denies that there is a problem
  • treats the addict as if they were their responsibility
  • takes over the duties and responsibilities of the addict
  • makes excuses for the addict and the addiction
  • controls the addict through manipulation
  • sometimes uses with the addict
  • may be an addict themselves
  • avoids confrontation with the addict about the addiction
  • protects the addict from the consequences of their addiction
  • minimizes the addiction
  • justifies the actions of the addict to others
  • bottles up their feelings about the addiction
  • is patiently hoping things will get better
  • gives the addict money knowing they will buy drugs with it
  • pays bills and other obligations for the addict
  • allows the addict to use even when they know they shouldn’t

These are classic enabling behaviors.

How can you Help a Drug Addict without Enabling Them

You can help a drug addict by stopping these behaviors. You can:

  • stop paying for things or giving them money
  • give them an ultimatum and stick with it
  • explain why getting treatment is the better option
  • talk to them about their drug use and how it hurts you
  • stop covering for them, let them face the consequences of their actions
  • detach from them
  • seek counseling for yourself
  • protect yourself and family instead of the addict
  • be honest with yourself and them
  • show them how to get treatment

By doing these things you are taking a stand against the addiction and addictive behavior. You cannot change the addicts behavior but you can help them see that treatment is a better option.

Where to Find a Drug Addiction Treatment Center

If you are enabling an addict and want to stop, the first step is to find a treatment center that can help. Call 800-895-1695, we can help you find the treatment center and the resources that the addict needs to beat their addiction.

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