Enabling quotes helper or enabler
Fine line between helping and enabling

How do you know the difference between helping and enabling? We all struggle with this, both as parents of small children and later in many families where loved ones are struggling with mental illness and substance or alcohol use disorder (SUD and AUD). What should you do to help, and how much help is too much. It’s different with every human and every family. Millions are broken-hearted when they lose loved ones to an overdose or suicide and blame themselves for detaching or not doing enough to help. So, it’s a tricky issue.

Helping and Enabling are different sides of the same coin

It all starts out with wanting loved ones to thrive, or even just survive and be okay. We do everything we can to help. But helping becomes more complicated when loved ones are struggling to overcome the brain changes that occur with substance and alcohol use. Helping too much to try and save someone can actually prevent both of you from growing in your recovery.

The fine line between helping and enabling is something you should learn more about to be effective in both growing and thrive the way you both deserve in recovery. One good resource is Al-anon, a group for family members. Or find a therapist who can help.

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Haley Laferney
Haley Laferney is the Graphic Designer at Reach Out Recovery and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design. She is also a gold and silver ADDY award winner.

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