The Enabling Behaviors You Need to Stop Now

The Enabling Behaviors You Need to Stop Now

Are you trying your very best to keep your family together despite this disease? Are you feeling lonely and like no one understands what it’s like to love someone suffering from addiction? But what if the things you’re doing to help are actually enabling?

Are you worried that you can’t stay but you’re afraid to leave?

Or maybe you’re scared they’re going to die from addiction?

Are you secretly worried they’re having an affair? Or that they love booze, drugs or pornography more than you?

Here’s what I know about you – you’re trying to do all the right things.

You’re not lazy. You are not in denial. You’re willing to take this disease head-on. You want to learn what to do that will help and you want nothing more than for your loved one to get sober and turn into the wonderful human being you know they can be. You’re not trying to enable them. You just want to help.

So let’s take a moment and recognize the work you’ve done. Let’s give you the credit you deserve. You’re trying. You’ve been trying. For a very long time.

But let me ask you a question. And it might sting a little. But I am your friend. And we don’t do judgment. You’re safe here. You have found your people.

So here’s my question: All the exhausting effort you’ve made to save the one you love… is it working?

Have they stopped drinking or using drugs long-term because of something you said or did?

Probably not.

The only way someone gets sober is because they want to get sober. It’s just that simple. And that frustrating.

So let’s redirect your efforts.  

All the energy and time you’ve put towards their recovery? You’re going to stop that. Those behaviors are enabling.

So all the googling you’ve done late at night on ways to get them sober.

Or labels you’ve applied to “help” diagnose them.  

The dozens of conversations you’ve had with someone else (or in your head) condemning them or painfully going over every detail of all the ways they’ve hurt you.

All the liquor bottles you’ve thrown out.

Or the times you’ve gotten in your car and went searching for them or tracked them on your cell phone when they went missing or were late coming home.

All the desperate phone calls you’ve made from the kitchen to guilt them or yell at them.

Or the threatening text messages you’ve sent in hopes of getting them to do what you want.

All the times you’ve felt so out of control you thought you were going to explode.

All the junk you’ve put into your body to stuff down your feelings of broken-heartedness.

And the ways you’ve covered up for them by lying or bending the truth in order to “protect” them from the consequences of their bad choices.

These are all behaviors you’re going to stop. These behaviors are enabling, and they need to stop. Starting today. No more will you let addiction drain you. You will not let this disease suck all the energy and joy from your soul any longer.

Today, you are retiring from playing caretaker to the addicted and are promoting yourself to self-care provider.

Lay the caretaker role down. Remove the thousand-pound weight off your shoulders by committing to stopping these enabling behaviors. And instead, put all that energy into YOU.

Because the truth is, addiction has done painful damage to YOU. And caring for yourself, being kind and gentle with yourself, giving yourself grace at every moment, being tender and thoughtful with yourself is the only way back to the path you were created to walk down.


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