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What Enabling an Addict Looks LikeAddiction is a disease with serious consequences. These may be physical, emotional, relational, financial or legal, and they can affect not only the addicts, but their families, friends and society. Unfortunately, Anchorage residents sometimes unknowingly worsen the addiction by making it easier for their loved one to continue in destructive patterns. This is known as enabling and many fall prey to it without realizing they are aiding the addiction.

What Is Direct and Indirect Enabling?

Enabling an addict can take a number of different forms. The most direct type of enabling involves helping someone obtain substances that would be harder for them to obtain otherwise. For instance, parents of Anchorage teens may buy alcohol for their children because they believe that drinking at home is safer than drinking elsewhere. Direct enabling may also mean loaning or giving money that will be used to purchase addictive substances.

Enabling may also involve participating in the addictive behavior. Going to the bar with an alcoholic is an example of this type of enabling. Participating normalizes the behavior and makes it seem acceptable.

Most forms of enabling aren’t this direct. Some Anchorage residents enable addicts by protecting them from the consequences of addiction. Family and friends who do this often believe they are helping their loved ones. Although the lines between helping and enabling can be blurred, a general definition of enabling is doing something for an addict that she not only can, but should be doing on her own.

Enabling by Protecting Anchorage Addicts from Consequences of Addiction

Protecting addicts from the physical and emotional consequences of their addiction can include actions like the following:

  • Telling others (such as a boss or children) that the addict has the flu when he is suffering addiction-related effects
  • Avoiding a conversation about the addiction to keep the peace
  • Assuming responsibilities that the Anchorage addict neglects
  • Rescuing her from legal consequences, such as bailing he out of jail
  • Paying his unpaid bills or covering bounced checks
  • Agreeing with addict’s rationalizations of her behavior
  • Minimizing the problem and agreeing that it really isn’t so bad

Enabling can be harmful because addicts are likely to ignore their addictions until the negative consequences outweigh the benefits of drug abuse. One way to make the consequences more clear is to choose to stage an intervention. A professional interventionist can help Anchorage families identify patterns of enabling and learn more productive ways of relating to those suffering from addiction.

Anchorage Addiction Help

If you have an addicted loved one in Anchorage, we can answer your questions about treatment. Our toll-free helpline is staffed 24 hours a day and our phone counselors can help you understand your options. They can even check your insurance coverage if you wish. There are ways to help without enabling and we can partner with you on the journey.