There has been a rash of crimes recently by a well known gang of enablers. They often swoop into a crisis and derail reality by helping their loved one to avoid the consequences of his or her actions. These enablers interfere in the natural process of life. According to the Hazelden/Betty Ford Clinic, “Enabling behavior, simply put, shields people from experiencing the full impact and consequences of their behavior. Enabling is different from helping and supporting in that it allows the enabled person to be irresponsible.” Have you seen any of the Ten most wanted enablers lurking around your home?
Are You One Of These Enablers Stop The Crime Wave Now
Oliver the Obsessed: Do you spend all your time thinking about fixing someone else’s substance abuse? Remember Obsession is a Perfume, not a expression of Love. Obsessing over anything or anyone is not healthy. Oliver is afraid to let go, because his loved one’s life would simply unravel? Maybe their life needs to fall apart, and the sooner the better. Collin might be helped if he reads ROR Detachment section to find balance.
Victoria the Victim: Do you spend your time wondering how everything became such a mess? How your life fell apart and keeps falling apart? Do you sit and pray and wish things were different? This is how Victoria feels: powerless, but she has no clue how to change. Meanwhile, she continues to deny others their consequences because she doesn’t like to watch loved ones suffer. She pities everyone, but most of all she pities herself. A great article for her would be the Healthy Boundaries section.
Collin the Controlling: Do you have to know everything about a loved one’s life so you can be sure it is going the way you think is best? Do you know if a loved one has gone to a meeting or support group? Do you need to be in charge? Does your loved one often have to tell you, “I got this,” or “You are suffocating me?” You may be trying to control the situation. Collin does this and in doing so, his is robbing loved ones of their right to learn from their mistakes. A good mantra for Collin would be to say is, “Everything is going according to plan, it just isn’t my plan.” Collin can try looking for a support group in our Family Support section.
Nancy the Not my Son: Does a look of utter disbelief cross your face when a neighbor, teacher, or total stranger tells you things about your son or daughter you not like? Do you ignore, deny, and refute the facts of your child’s problems? Nancy just can’t accept the truth and allows her child to continue unacceptable behaviors. Her child is causing real harm to themselves and others, yet Nancy can’t allow any version of her child than the one she has created. It would be comforting to Nancy to know she, as a parent, is not alone. She might read Parenting Tips for support.
Lionel the Liar: After a loved one’s a late night of poor choices, do you call his or her boss and tell “little white lies” to cover for him? Lionel lies about his life at home because he doesn’t want anyone to know what’s really happening. He pretends what his loved one does is ok, but it isn’t. Learning to tell the truth might be easier for Lionel if he reads the ROR Abuse section to learn how the disease of addiction works.
Patty the Preventor: Do you tirelessly scan the horizon of your loved one’s life to prevent potential disasters so your loved one doesn’t have to face natural consequences of their actions? Patty enjoys listening to her loved ones regale her and others with the many stories of how she saved the day with her ability to to see what was coming and prevent it.
Brad the Bail Bondsman: Brad is the one everyone called at any hour when an arrested. He would scramble out of bed and find the bail money so his “innocent” loved ones because they had been falsely accused. People in recovery from substance abuse and have often said that they found reality sitting in a jail cell alone. Do you allow your loved one the pain of facing reality? Could you give your loved one that precious gift? Letting others go is difficult and you will need support. A group, a therapist, a program can all help when you’re ready.
Franny the Fixer: Franny, after a sleepless night, created spreadsheets with bullet points outlining the possible solutions to give to her loved one. She would show up unannounced to do laundry, cook a meal, or clean a bathroom because her loved one wouldn’t? She felt she and she alone was the only one who could fix a crazy situation? Perhaps Franny could give herself permission to take care of herself. She can read our Self Care section to find calm in the storm of addiction.
Benny the Banker: Benny would run to the bank and cover bad checks or pay bills that were due so the power, water, or cable of a loved one would not be turned off? He knew the tellers on a first name basis and he knew his loved one’s account number by heart. He would pay the rent while his loved one would continue to abuse substances. He just keeps going further and further into debt because he is so afraid his loved one will end up on the street. Do you loan money to a loved one who is always “down on his luck,” or “just can’t catch a break?” Do you co-sign for cars you have to pay for but will never drive? Do you often feel as though the only reason your loved one contacts you is to get money from you? Does your helping making possible activities you don’t want to support? Benny may find a great place for answers in some of Madeline’s Articles. She has been where you are.
Betty the Babysitter; When your loved one is “so stressed out by the kids and life” and wants to “blow off a little steam,” do you ride in like the cavalry to babysit and take over all childcare? Betty’s adult children expected her to babysit and didn’t even ask anymore, they let her know when they needed to go out. Betty worried about her grandchildren and ended up feeling like a prisoner in her own family. Are you made to feel guilty or manipulated if you say no. Are you bullied until you concede? Be sure to read ROR’s Parenting Tips section.
Loving others is confusing when substance use disorder is in their life. It’s also difficult to understand when you are an adult child of an alcoholic (COA) with children of your own to parent and save. It’s not a crime to have family dysfunction resulting from substance misuse. It’s a painful reality for millions of Americans. Enabling often becomes the driving force in relationships where substance misuse is causing problems. If you and your loved ones are caught up in this web, have hope. Things can improve and you can find a new way to live without enabling others. Remember enabling does not help, and only delays your loved ones from getting the help they so desperately need. Act today to stop this crime wave. While we speak about the “crime wave” in a metaphoric, joking way, the destructive impact of enabling is very real. Start helping yourself now.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Nadine Knapp