http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Life-in-Recovery-from-Addiction-Report-at-a-Glance-2017-en.pdf
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The Drug Class Blog

Apr 26

Codependency and Enabling

Codependency and Enabling Can Exacerbate Drug Abuse


Drug addiction is an extremely complicated and powerful disease that has swept across the United States. The path of destruction left and the turmoil that continues to reign heartache across innocent bystanders is absolutely devastating. When someone is struggling with drug abuse or addiction issues it will affect everyone that person comes in contact with. Those who are closest to them will feel the full force of it all. Drug addiction affects the entire family as much as, if not more, than it affects the person in addiction. Addiction is a family disease


Hoping for a Change


Standing by and watching a loved one slowly kill themselves is crippling. Knowing that they out there, risking their lives and safety every day for a drug can be very hard to understand. Many drug addicts will commit various crimes to fuel their addiction, going just one day without their drug of choice seems like an impossibility. Someone who has never struggled with addiction sees this and views it as absolute insanity. Why can’t you just stop? What’s wrong with you? Having little to no power in this situation can make family members feel helpless, which will lead many people to enable their loved ones to use.


In the family member’s eyes, they are helping keep their loved one safe. By providing them with food, shelter, and money they are hoping that by providing them with these things that they will stay out of harm's way. While it may prevent the person in addiction from taking part in illegal activities to fuel their habit, it is only digging their dark hole of addiction deeper. The innocent bystanders of addiction are held hostage by their loved ones use. Their financial situation will drastically change over a short period of time, there will be no inner peace, no time to relax; life will be nothing but stress, sadness, and worry.


When an addict has little to no repercussions for their actions, the chances of them changing are slim to none. As hard as it will be, tough love is always the best option. If someone gives the person in addiction a place to live and some money on a daily basis, that person in addiction will continue to get high for a very long time. If another family member or spouse does not agree with the actions the other is taking it will create added stress to an already stressful situation.


Enabling someone in active addiction is one of the worst things someone can do. Actions must have consequences; if they are able to use freely and without any real fallout, the chances of them seeking professional help is minimal.


This can be heart-wrenching to sit by and watch a loved one destroy their lives in the name of a drug, but it is necessary. If only there was a simple pill a person in addiction could take that would make them change their self-destructive ways. They must realize that their life has become out of control and unmanageable. From the outside looking in, one will want to scream “Just go get help!”. When life remains comfortable and consequences are minimal, chances are they will continue to use.


The drugs have taken control and are the primary concern. Users will know that what they are doing is senseless, damaging and hurtful, but it goes on the back burner to the drugs. The best way to help someone in active addiction is to let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to change. Beyond that, you will not provide them with any normal life comforts and you will not give them any money. Even letting someone in active addiction into your household can cause chaos to occur. The addict’s main thought is always getting more of their drug. Any open opportunity they have to steal something that could be used for drugs will be stolen.


Standing idly waiting for someone to change their ways will be exhausting. Especially as you watch the person you love change into someone you don’t recognize, but enabling a person in addiction is not the right thing to do. Continue to let them know that you love them and care for them, but you can’t just stand there and watch them kill themselves. Remind them, on a daily basis if needed, that help is available; you will help them through this. But you will not give them money to get high with, no matter how much they plead and beg. It will do them and do you no good. If you know someone who is struggling, please reach out to our toll-free line today. An addiction specialist is standing by to help you through this difficult time.


 

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