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The Line Between Love and Enabling Someone’s Opiate Addiction

In This Article

Drugs or alcohol are undeniably threatening to health, career, finances, and relationships and the road to recovery is challenging.

Addiction recovery is in the hands of the person who is receiving treatment as it requires enough motivation and determination to conquer the disease. In order to make a long-term sobriety a reality for a loved one, the right support from family members, friends, partners, and mentors is crucial.

In addition, there is a fine line between loving and enabling people with opiate addiction.

The Power of Love

Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

If someone you care about is abusing drugs and alcohol, you must first understand the realities of addiction. Addiction is a condition that the individual must learn to control. It is a chronic disease that is difficult to control and compulsive which makes stopping seem impossible despite the consequences. An opiate addict’s desire to change must come from within, for no one can force an addict to change. However, you may be able to motivate them to receive help by showing unconditional love, concern, and support in the process of change.

Focus and Accept Reality

You have to adapt and accept the reality that your loved one is addicted. You should know the difference between what you can change and what you can’t change. Learning how to deal with reality and acceptance of what you are dealing with in your life is the key to loving an addicted person.

Aim for Progress and Not for Perfection

Live by the concept that you can’t try to control or fix the person. Give it time by being patient with the person and by continuously being open with each other. Recovery from addiction does not happen overnight for it is a process that extends months and years. More importantly, do not blame, shame, embarrass the person struggling.

Be the Light

Help them want to help themselves by being their guide during recovery.  An individual struggling with drug or alcohol abuse is likely to seek help due to a loved one’s ongoing encouragement. Encourage the person to seek help by finding an addiction counseling, rehab centers, or treatment resources. On the other hand, you should respect the addict’s choices as well because not every addict will accept help and go through treatment. Know when to put the responsibility for their healing in their hands.

Keep An Open Mind

A person with an addiction will easily confide in you about what they are going through if you listen without criticizing and interrupting. Communicate effectively by making sure you listen and understand the person’s point of view. Confront them in a warm and polite way about their behavior afterward.

Set Your Boundary

As long as no harm is caused by the addict’s own decisions and strategies for change, let them do it their way. You have to make sure to let them know about what is unacceptable about their behavior.

No matter what the condition is, remind them that you still love and care about them. Another way to care about an addicted person is to ensure that you are looking after your own life by maintaining a good balance.

The Dangers of Enabling

Love can sometimes cloud a person’s judgment.

Family members will try to help the person with the addiction. However, some people would end up in ways that enable the person to continue using drugs instead of helping them recover. Enabling addiction ends up doing more harm than good.

Common enabling behaviors include:

  • Covering and taking the blame for the addiction
  • Ignoring the negative consequences of addiction
  • Taking over responsibilities and accomplishing tasks they could not do by themselves
  • Continuously financing the person struggling with addiction

The desire to help the people who mean the most to us may perpetuate rather than solve a problem. Enabling happens when people who are close to a person struggling with addiction help and love the person yet it fosters the addiction on a long-term basis. It is vital for the person struggling to deal with the consequences of the addiction.

Enabling is detrimental for it discourages an addict from addressing the problem with professional help. If a family member or a partner protects them from the consequences of their actions, this enables a person to remain addicted to drugs or alcohol. It can often lead to slow and weak recovery and situations that may cause physical, mental, and psychological harm.

If you are more of an enabler, take action immediately. Help a person struggling with drugs or alcohol to live a healthy life free of addiction by allowing them to recognize their own destructive behaviors.

Risk of Relapse

A person who is recovering from addiction will most likely be at risk for relapse after months and years, and possibly throughout this lifetime.

Fear not, relapse is not a sign of failure. It is part of the overall recovery process.

People who seek professional help after struggling with addiction are likely to succeed in time with the support of family and friends. If a person seems likely to relapse even after years of not taking a drug, show your love and care by being there for the person without judgment and by helping in treatment once again.

You must support and welcome the changes of a person who used to have an addiction and let them know that you love them and have always loved them.

Change Is Possible

Hope is powerful medicine, and there is always a reason to hold on to it. To be hopeful gives you the strength and motivation to keep going in the midst of trouble and difficulties. It improves the mental, emotional, and physical health and reduces feelings of helplessness. You will be able to see the good and look at the future positively.

Family members and loved ones play an invaluable role in helping an addict keep hope alive. Offer support by firmly believing in their capacity to get better and create the future life he or she wants.

If you know someone who struggles from opiate addiction, and has been dealing with it for a long time, reach out for help now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, call us to find out more about our treatment options and support groups.

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