Being the family member or loved one of an addict is an extremely trying and confusing position to be in. Feelings of guilt and helplessness are very common, and it is likely that at the root of these upsetting emotions is a strong sense of ambivalence around whether you are, in fact, enabling an addict. This can be a very difficult truth to come to terms with, because an addict generally does not have the means or wherewithal to take care of their basic needs, so enabling often feels like the right thing to do because you are “saving” the addict from being in an even worse position than they already are. How do you know when enabling is the right thing to do? How can you tell if you are enabling at all?
It is never a good idea to enable.
Enabling an addict is the same as enabling their addiction. As long as an addict has support to feed off, it will continue. Enabling an addict prolongs “rock bottom,” and thus prolongs the addiction, allowing it to have a more and more harmful effect on the addict.