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The Enabler: Loving The Addict To Death

enablerAs an industry leader in the addiction treatment field since 1998, we understand the personality of the addict, alcoholic, and even their loved ones. Addicts and alcoholics have been using certain manipulation tactics for a long time in order to get what they want and need. Sometimes so long, that not even their loved ones know what’s real or not. Those who are surrounded by an active addict, many times get so wrapped up in the chaos, their behaviors become highly influenced by or just as sick as the addict’s. For the sake of simplicity, we will call these affected loved ones the “Fixers”. There are two kinds of Fixers: the “Controller” and the “Victim”; being either one could have the power to kill.

The Enabler

Those who have never been exposed to addiction, or who have lived through their addiction to now lead healthy, productive lives in recovery may not be able to see all the deception, lies, and games the active addict plays. Fights may break out, and the addict will blame or lie to those who are closest to them. Many times, the addict’s enabler actually believes that they are to blame for the addict’s behavior and addiction (the Victim role), while other times, they may take no accountability, and try to manage the problem instead (the Controller role). So how do these two roles play out in the real world as it pertains to addiction?

The Victim

The Victim,  trying to fix the addict, usually gets burned over and over again and can’t seem to understand why. The Victim enabler tends to blame everything on everyone else, even the addict. If the addict would just do what the victim says, then everything would be OK. If the addict loved the Victim enough, they would stop doing what they are doing. The enabler, above everything else, does not want to look at their own actions; in not doing so, they stay stuck with the addict and take on all the responsibility without taking any action.  The Victim would rather stay in their misery than help the addict; they are almost always adding to the problem rather than helping the addict get better. They make the addiction about them, and want others to feel sorry for all they have had to endure. The victim will often let the addict take from them, belittle them, and lie to them.  Many times they are scared to send the addict away for help, because they want their loved one to just stop and be better. If the addict went away, the Victim would have nobody to take care of, and would have to look at themselves. The Victim, in many cases, is also in denial about the disease of addiction and their own behaviors.

The Controller

The Controller tries to fix the addict by controlling who they hang out with, when they go out, where they go, and what they do; sometimes even attempting to try to control their involvement or adherence to a 12-step program. The Controller enabler tends to monitor so hard, and criticize so much, that the addict often wants to pick up again; in many cases they do. When the addict relapses over and over again, the Controller sometimes will prevent them from going to treatment because they think they can still fix them. The Controller, like the Victim, is often in denial about the disease of addiction, and they believe that the addict could not possibly get sober without their assistance.

The Deadly Duo

Both of these enabler roles can prove deadly. Many times the enabler plays out both roles, but this can vary from situation to situation.  In most cases the enabler does this because they love the addict so much that they just want them to get better. Enabling an addict can be as vicious of a cycle as addiction, and you may not even know you are doing it.  You might go on forums, and join various groups, spilling out all of your problems to those communities, hoping someone will have the “right” answer. Maybe someone suggested treatment, but you brushed it off, because that is not in your plan for how to fix your loved one. Maybe, you think because they have already been to treatment and relapsed, that it won’t work – so you toss the idea out entirely. So, you go into more groups and forums, and spill more of your problems to anyone who will listen, but then get frustrated that nothing is changing. The reality is, nothing will change until you take real action. Instead of playing the Controller or the Victim, what would it look like if you let go and let others help your loved one recover from addiction? Even if they went to treatment before and relapsed; you wouldn’t deny treatment again if they were diagnosed with a life threatening physical illness, just because it didn’t work the first time, would you? Say your loved one was diagnosed with cancer, and the first treatment failed; you wouldn’t stop searching for other viable treatment options, right? Addiction is also a deadly disease – you wouldn’t want to deny your loved one that second, third, or even tenth chance at recovery, right?

Time  For A Change

If you are ready to make a change, it’s time to get out the enabling business altogether. Get real help for your loved one, and try something new – call us today! We don’t want you to give up – we want you to join us in the fight to help save your loved one’s life. We understand the disease of addiction and we know how to help guide the addict to recovery so that they can enjoy long-term recovery after treatment.  You and your loved one are worth it, and we can help you both heal.

Call now! 1-800-439-5959




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