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Posts Tagged ‘Enabling Behaviors’

Simple Tips to Help Family Members Cope With Addiction Within the Family

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Tips to Help Family Members Cope With Addiction Within the FamilyMuch research has been done regarding the effects of substance abuse on an addict. When someone is addicted, there is plenty of focus on how to provide treatment and help them stay sober. However, family members often don’t receive the attention and treatment they need. If you are an addict’s family member, you’re probably going through a plethora of confusing emotions and wondering where to turn for help. The Treatment Center is honored to provide the guidance you need.

Educate Yourself

Some drug and alcohol abuse symptoms are common no matter what substance the addict uses. Such symptoms include severe weight loss or gain, bloodshot or glazed eyes, poor performance at work or school, and loss of interest in favorite activities. That said, some symptoms are unique to specific drugs. A heroin addict might have nosebleeds or a sore or peeling nose if the drug is snorted.

The Treatment Center urges family members to educate themselves on the specific drug being abused and its effects. Additionally, family members should educate themselves on recovery. Many people assume once an addict achieves sobriety, the addiction is “over.” Actually, addiction is a lifelong disease. Your loved one may relapse, or need continuous therapy to maintain sobriety. Most addicts battle temptation the rest of their lives, but can overcome it with a strong support system of family and friends.

Treatment, Not Punishment

Addicts’ family members often communicate treatment is punishment, whether they mean to or not. The addict gets the message he or she has done something bad, shamed the family, or deserves to feel miserable. Thus, his or her confidence and self-concept sinks lower, increasing the likelihood of seeking substances for relief. A vicious cycle begins, one that families struggle to escape.

Although you may be angry, sad, or confused, don’t treat your addicted loved one as if he or she is being punished. Do not shut the addict out of your life unless they ‘re a legitimate danger to themselves or others. Don’t shield an addict from negative consequences such as court appearances or jail time, but don’t shame them. Set boundaries, but do not use them to shame the addict, or as a form of discipline.

Provide a Safe, Relaxing Environment

Addicts often struggle to feel safe. Their brains have been so affected; they think they need their substances of choice for basic survival. Addicts may deal with anxiety, depression, nightmares, tremors, and other frightening symptoms, especially during withdrawal. They will be given a safe environment in inpatient treatment; professionals are trained to help them cope. After treatment, though, your addicted loved one needs to feel safe and secure in whatever environment is available.

Your addicted loved one has learned to use drugs and alcohol to relax, or as a reward. Give them healthy alternatives; enjoy a shared hobby together, encourage them to exercise and eat some favorite healthy foods, or encourage them to get adequate sleep and do relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation. Keep the environment as calm as possible; in a relaxing environment, the addict’s brain will gradually calm, as well. It will relearn substances aren’t necessary for survival.

Do Not Enable Your Loved One

Loved ones often enable addicts without realizing what they are doing. Enabling can be anything from giving an addict money to giving them transportation to dealers. Sometimes, offering an addict a place to live is enabling, because the addict assumes they can use drugs in your home. Speak with treatment professionals to determine what constitutes enabling. Learn to say “no” and stick to it. Learn to recognize manipulation, and refuse to be sucked in.

Watch out for statements like,

“If you loved me, you would…” or “You know what will happen to me without this substance.”

Addicts’ families often struggle to set and keep boundaries on their own. They also struggle with getting an addicted loved one to accept treatment. If this is the case, seek outside help from family, friends, clergy, and addiction support groups like Al-Anon. An outside support system will not only keep your loved one on track, but also prevent you from enabling.

Recognize an Addict’s Potential

Engage in behaviors that encourage the addict to change. This is called positive enabling. Positive enabling encompasses offering the addict the opportunity to change through long-term treatment, and letting him or her know you believe change is possible. Let your addicted loved one know you remember who is still there underneath the addiction. Communicate that he or she can be that person again. Emphasize that although you will not contribute to the addiction, your love for the addict has not changed.

Take Care of Yourself

An old proverb says you cannot pour if your own cup is empty. While dealing with addiction, physically, mentally, and spiritually care for yourself. Eat right, and get adequate sleep and exercise. Do activities you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to get away for a break. Do not blame yourself; your loved ones addiction was not your fault. Your addicted loved one needs your strength, but strength can only come from a person who takes care of their own needs.

If Your Loved One Is Suffering From an Addiction, Don’t Hesitate to Contact
The Treatment Center Now.
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How to Stop Enabling Your Loved One

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

How to Stop Enabling Your Loved One

Enabling Your Loved One

Are you an enabler? Do you try to “fix” your loved one’s behavioral problems? It’s a common misconception that you can manipulate your loved one into doing and acting the way you want them to. You may be wondering why your loved one keeps acting the way they do.

Most enablers believe that they are doing the right thing to help their loved one overcome addiction. However, in an effort to control one’s behavior, they are actually encouraging their loved one to keep acting in a way that negatively affects them both.

So how do you recognize your own behavior and how can you stop enabling your loved one? Below is a list of a few key signs of enabling behavior and how you can change them.

Signs of Enabling Behaviors

Enablers struggle with the stress of their loved one’s addictive behaviors. They usually feel guilty if they are not helping others. They often have the hardest time telling others “no” when they’re asked for help. The constant need to please others leads to co-dependency behaviors such as:

  • Obsessiveness
  • Controlling behavior
  • Care-taking
  • Low self-worth
  • Guilt, anger, resentment
  • Self-abandonment

As they neglect their own needs, it’s easy for the enabler to become frustrated that their efforts are being taken for granted. The above behaviors often persist and prolong resentment. Usually enablers don’t recognize these behavioral patterns until some form of counseling has taken place.

How to Change Enabling Behaviors

1) Do you always cover up the evidence that your loved one has an addiction problem?

– Your loved one needs to see the consequences of their behavior so they can see that a change needs to happen. (i.e., leaving broken items from an angry rage, not making excuses for their job loss, not cleaning up vomit after drug or alcohol use, etc.)

2) Do you always give your loved one money, clothing, and other gifts?

– You’ll need to establish clear boundaries so you don’t allow yourself to get taken advantage of. While it may be hard at first, think of how your courageous decision to say “no” once and for all will help both of you in the long run.

3) Do you always try to control and manipulate your loved one so they’ll do what you want?

– Attending individual therapy will help you identify how your own behaviors may trigger addictive behaviors in your loved one. Also, attending group meetings with your loved one, such as 12-step meetings, will help you better understand the addiction recovery process. You will eventually learn to accept that you have no control over your loved one’s addiction, which is key.

4) Do you always let your loved one off the hook for failing to meet their obligations?

– Taking a hands-off approach is also a good way to let your loved one see how their actions are hurting themselves and everyone around them. It’s always good to have a backup plan so you don’t feel stressed from your loved one’s negative reactions.

5) Do you feel fearful that your loved one’s reaction will leave you feeling angry and guilty?

– It will be uncomfortable to break the habits of enabling, especially if you’re always hoping for a positive reaction. Yet, it’s helpful to compare the short-term emotional stress of saying “no” versus the long-term misery that enabling behavior causes.

Why Stop Now

Research on what causes enabling behavior and co-dependency is still up for debate. Prolonging enabling behavior can lead to deep depression. However, several evidence-based studies show that those who attend individual counseling and group meetings are less likely to continue their behavior once they learn effective coping mechanisms.

By participating in meetings, you’ll also discover that addiction recovery really is a family disease and everyone, even friends, can benefit from the principles of 12-step programs.

How to Identify Codependent and Enabling Behaviors

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

When dealing with a loved one in active addiction, it can be very easy to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is natural to want to care for and protect a loved one when they are unable to do it themselves, but these actions can do more harm than good. Learning how to recognize and eliminate codependent and enabling behaviors is essential if you want to support their recovery.

Codependency is behaving in overly passive or excessively care taking ways. A person who is codependent may be controlled or manipulated by the addict without realizing it or taking action against it. When behaving this way, they are putting the addict’s needs above their own. This allows the addict to avoid making healthy decisions because they know someone else will do it for them.

Enabling is when someone takes the responsibility or blame for the addict’s harmful behavior. This includes denying the existence of a problem, trying to control the substance abuse, and attempting to rescue them from their natural consequences. By doing so, it enables them to continue the detrimental behavior and creates a false sense of reality.

Codependency and enabling are two behaviors that allow someone to continue in active addiction. Caring for and protecting the addict may feel like the only way to help them, but you are actually allowing them to prolong the addiction. When someone does not suffer their natural consequences, they do not have the ability to recognize how self-destructive their behavior is.

You may be struggling with codependency or enabling if you do one or more of the following:

  • Deny or ignore the existence or extent of a loved one’s addiction
  • Accept the responsibility for the addict’s negative behavior or actions
  • Make excuses for the addict’s negative behavior or actions
  • Feel the responsibility to take care of or protect the addict
  • Place the needs or feelings of the addict above your own
  • Have an extreme fear of abandonment
  • Feel as though you can fix the addict
  • Struggle with setting boundaries and often break them

In order to end codependent and enabling behaviors, you must create healthy boundaries. By doing so, you are helping the addict in their recovery process by allowing them to take responsibility for their actions. Without suffering from the natural consequences, it is easy for them to stay in active addiction. Setting boundaries also allows you to heal the relationship you have with the addict. There are many groups available such as Al-Anon that can help you identify these behaviors and give you support from others who are facing the same struggles.

 

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