You know alcoholism is a disease. It’s a disease that relies heavily on people giving a “helping hand” so that the alcoholic can continue to drink and feed his illness. It is not his fault. It’s the nature of the disease. Statistics show that an average of 8 people enable an alcoholic so that he continues to drink or use.
What is enabling?
Enabling is doing something for someone else that they can normally do for themselves under normal circumstances. For example, a normally functioning adult, under normal circumstances, can do his or her laundry. She can drive herself to her job. He can call his work if he’s sick. Do you get the picture?
When you step in to do something for your alcoholic loved one that he should be doing for himself, you are enabling him to continue with his addiction. In order for him to get better, he must feel and experience each and every consequence of his actions. He cannot do this if you or anyone else is stepping in to remove his consequences.
You’re a nice person and nice people do things for others right?
That is true. However, alcoholism is a strange and baffling disease that is not only physical, emotional, and spiritual, but also behavioral and social. As long as someone else is doing something for him that he should do for himself, the disease will stay. It’s weird, but that’s the way this disease works.
If you want a chance that he will sober up and get into recovery, when you stop enabling, it’s more likely to happen.
Here are 10 ways to stop enabling:
- Do not lend or give him money at all, not even a dime.
- Do not pour out his drinks.
- Do not buy her alcohol or drugs, never ever, never, never.
- Do not make excuses for her behavior. It’s her behavior, not yours.
- Do not call him in sick at work or lie to cover up his behavior.
- Do not ridicule him, make fun of him or humiliate him.
- Do not let him live at your place rent free.
- Do not pick her up, clean her up, get her undressed or move her to a bed. Let her wake up in her own vomit, on the floor, or in the car.
- Do not ever think or believe that this is your fault.
- Set healthy boundaries and keep them.
Finally, you are not punishing your alcoholic loved one. You are not being cruel. You are helping him realize the impact of his own actions. By stepping aside you are actually helping him get better. He may be angry but, “So what?” Anger comes when he sees his world unraveling before his eyes and that’s is what needs to happen as he’s hitting bottom. He needs to hit his bottom to get better.
#alcoholism #enabling #health