If you love someone who struggles with a substance abuse problem chances are you have enabled them, as addiction and enabling often go hand in hand.  Enabling is a dysfunctional behavior that allows the addicted person to continue their use and self-destructive behavior. It is typically driven by fear or guilt and is often done unintentionally and in attempt to help protect the addicted person. However, enabling actually allows the addiction to progress and intensify. If you notice yourself responding to a person struggling with substance abuse in the following ways, you may be doing more harm than good.

  1. Denying or refusing to acknowledge a problem exists
  2. Minimizing or downplaying the problem or behavior
  3. Lying to conceal problems or to protect the person using
  4. Continually providing finances, housing, vehicles, or other resources to the person
  5. Repeatedly tolerating, excusing, justifying or ignoring problematic behavior
  6. Rescuing or bailing out the person from consequences
  7. Avoiding conflict or avoiding being honest about your feelings
  8. Externalizing or shifting blame away from the person
  9. Constantly placing the using person’s needs above your own
  10. Using drugs or alcohol with the person or allowing use to occur in your home or presence