How Family and Friends Can Cause Harm by Enabling Addiction

family friends doing more harm than good for addict

Addiction is a complex problem that is extremely challenging to handle, both for addicts and their friends and loved ones. Often those trying to support the addict will unknowingly perform acts which they believe will help the addict recover, when in actuality these actions only exacerbate the problem. This is dangerous for everyone involved because drug addiction is an unpredictable phenomenon that can present a variety of threats both to addicts and everyone around them. A failure to recognize actions which enable addiction can lead to devastating consequences.

Addicts Must be Made to Suffer the Consequences for Their Actions

The friends and family members of an addict sometimes enable their addiction by helping the addict avoid the consequences of their actions. For instance, many addicts will neglect to pay their utility bills so that they can use their money to purchase drugs instead. When the utility company finally shuts off service, such as electricity, friends or family members will step in and pay the bill on the addict’s behalf.

On the surface this may seem like a kind and supportive act. But in reality by paying the bill the friends or family members of the addict are supporting and enabling their drug usage. Once an addict realizes that they can lean on friends and family to cover their living expenses, they will continue wasting their money on drugs since they know they won’t experience any adverse consequences. Another way in which friends and family members enable addiction is by ignoring it. They do this with the hope that the problem will resolve itself, but it won’t. Addiction is a phenomenon that must be dealt with head on.

Addicts Must be Given an Incentive to Change

In order for addicts to change they must be given an incentive to do so. The best incentive is sometimes allowing them to hit rock bottom. When the power company shuts off their electricity because they would rather spend money on drugs as opposed to paying their bills, let them sit in the dark. When they come to friends or family members asking to “borrow” money they should be denied.

If an addict winds up in jail because they chose to break the law while under the influence, then friends and family members should not post their bail and in fact shouldn’t even visit them. The best way to help addicts overcome their addiction is to make it painstakingly clear to them that you will not tolerate it, and unless they enter rehab and get clean for good they can no longer be a part of your life. Once the majority of addicts realize they will receive no support from friends or family they will be forced to change.

Friends and family members who choose to enable addiction sometimes suffer severe consequences as a result. It isn’t uncommon for drug addicts to steal from their friends or relatives, and in extreme cases drug addicts have even killed loved ones accidentally or even intentionally while high.

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