Battling a drug addiction is never easy to do, but when friends and family accept the addiction, it can make beating the addiction even more difficult. Roughly 22 million people suffered from an addiction to drugs and alcohol in 2005 in America and the numbers have continued to rise ever since. Many addicts continue to use because those that are closest to them enable their habit.
According to the Surgeon General’s Report “about 40 percent of individuals who know they have an alcohol or drug problem are not ready to stop using.” Addicts often don’t want to quit because they don’t think that they have a problem or haven’t been told by anyone close to them that they have a problem.
Enabling an addict only perpetuates the problem. There are many different ways that you could be enabling an addict without even realizing it.
Stop Keeping Them Out of Legal Trouble
There are many parents who are so fearful of their child having a criminal record that will impact the rest of their life that they will do any and everything possible to have charges brought against their child reduced or even dropped altogether.
It’s understandable that you don’t want the poor decisions that your child is making to affect the rest of their life but being held accountable for their mistakes could end up being helpful to them in the end. There are many addicts who end up getting clean while they are in jail because it is so difficult for them to get their hands on drugs while they are incarcerated.
Stop Providing Monetary Assistance
No one wants to see their child living on the streets, going without power or missing a meal, but giving an addict money to pay for these things is enabling them. They can use the money to go pay for their next fix rather than paying their bills.
Cook a fresh meal or take your loved one out to dinner if you want to ensure they have something to eat. Having their power cut off or being kicked out of their home may be the wakeup call that they need to get clean and sober.
Stop Making Excuses
Many parents enable their children by making excuses for their actions. Making excuses can cause the addict to think that you are complicit with their drug use.
It’s important for you to let your child know that what they are doing isn’t acceptable and that they need to make changes to better their life and their future. Do not make excuses for them. If they have done something wrong, make them own up to it.
Stop Accepting Lies as Truths
A huge mistake that parents make is to accept what they know are lies to be truths. Addicts will say and do anything to get their next fix, including lie, cheat and steal.
If you know that something is a lie, tell the addict that you know that they are lying. It’s better for them to be forced to tell the truth than to think that they can get away with a lie. Thinking that lies are believed will only cause them to lie more and more often.
Stop Assuming the Situation Isn’t Dire
You need to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease that won’t go away on its own. Your child isn’t going through a phase or trying to find his or her footing. They are addicted to drugs that can kill them. Being nonchalant about their drug addiction could lead to them overdosing and dying.
In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses unexpectedly. You don’t want your child to join that statistic so take action rather than assuming they will stop on their own.
Stop Trying to Manipulate the Addict
Manipulation never works with addicts. You cannot bribe them to stop using or tell them if they really loved you they would stop. The drug affects the way they think so much that they often lose responsible decision-making skills.
Holding an intervention to let your child know how the addiction is affecting their loved ones can be more effective than trying to manipulate them to stop using. It’s important to speak poignantly at the intervention and avoid having anyone who is angry or overly emotional present because they could distract from the message you are trying to impart to your child.
Stop Telling Your Child You Love them Unconditionally
A parent’s love for their child is unconditional. Telling an addict that you love them no matter what constantly can enable them to keep using drugs.
They assume that they can keep going down the same path and always have someone to back them up. Instead, consider telling them that you love them, but they have to make changes.
Stop Avoiding the Rehab Conversation
Many people avoid talking to addicts about rehab because they assume that it will make the addict mad or because they don’t want to admit that the addiction is as bad as it really is. Helping your child get into rehab isn’t enabling them in a negative way. It can help them to get the support that they need in order to better their life and get back on the right track.
You can contact a local rehab facility and find out everything that you need to know about the treatment process before you ever suggest it to your child. This allows you to be informed and take action as soon as they are ready to get help.
Drug addiction affects more than just the person who is addicted to the drugs. Being able to admit when someone needs help is a huge part of the battle and having people who are willing to push them to get help will be far more helpful than being surrounded by people who will enable them to do the same things over and over again.
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