Are you enabling your loved one’s alcohol or drug problem?

Categories: Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Friends & Family, News, Substance Use

Before Thanksgiving, this blog posted holiday tips for those living in recovery. The holiday season can be difficult for those families and friends who have a loved one with a drug or alcohol problem as well.

Friends and family members struggle with what they should, or can, do to help their loved one. They are not sure how to act or what to say. Sometimes, the well-meaning actions or words of a friend or family member may actually help the alcoholic or drug addict in his or her addiction, thus avoiding negative consequences. This is called enabling.

The Alcoholism website has an enabling quiz designed to help you decide whether your actions and reactions to your loved one might be enabling. Take the enabling quiz.

It is important for friends and family members to take care of themselves. Remember, you cannot take control of your loved one’s life, you can only encourage the person to get help. Some tips for this holiday season:

  • Don’t drink or drug with the person
  • Don’t hide or dump bottles
  • Don’t cover up problems for your loved one
  • Educate yourself about alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Get help for yourself. (Sometimes, friends and family members need help too.)

The last bullet point can be as simple as attending an Al-Anon meeting in your local area or calling a counselor. If you live near Portland, Maine, Crossroads for Women offers a 4-week educational series to help friends and family members dealing with a loved one’s addiction. “The Effects of Addiction on Friends & Family” covers the basics of addiction, the recovery process and how to be supportive of an addicted loved one while also taking care of you. The next series starts on January 8, 2008. Find out more about the series and Crossroads’ services for friends and family members.

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