Don’t Be An Enabler 

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What is an Enabler?

What is an enabler? An enabler is someone who makes it easier for someone to continue self-destruction.

This can include providing a place for someone to stay and giving them money that goes towards supporting their habit.

Most often an enabler does not even realize their role.

They believe it is the right thing to do because they are helping the other person.

This is true when someone is going through withdrawal or find themselves in trouble.

They are often unable to cope with the symptoms or handle the situation.

You may feel sorry for them and give in to help them.

Enabling is difficult to stop on your own.

Often you feel you are being a good person.

What is the role of an enabler in a dysfunctional relationship?

An enabler can often be co-dependent.

When your efforts to help fail to solve the problem, you may find yourself acting out of desperation.

The more you do, the easier you make it for the alcoholic to continue abusing.

Without an enabler in their life, an alcoholic will face chaos and pain.

Am I An Enabler?

Enablers are often unaware of how their behaviors contribute to the problem.

In the beginning, you may have made a small difference, like preventing them from driving drunk.

However, the more effort you put into fixing the other person, the bigger the problems get.

You may find yourself questioning if you are part of the problem.

Alcoholic enabler symptoms can be identified quickly.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if you are an enabler.

  • Do you find yourself making excuses for the behavior?
  • Are you doing things that they are capable of themselves?
  • Do you have a difficult time saying no?
  • Despite all the help you have given, are they still seeming to have additional problems?
  • Have you broken promises or commitments to help the alcoholic?
  • Do you avoid conflict to keep the peace?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may be an enabler.

These relationships can be difficult to navigate.

Often you will find yourself losing your sense of identity and become helpless in the cycle.

Many times, the person is a loved one that you cannot leave.

Often you as the enabler suffer from a co-dependency issue that is another type of addiction.

Types of Enablers

There are many types of enablers. Drinking friends are the most common enablers. These casual relationships fuel the destructive behaviors. Peer pressure is another form of enabling.

Peers enable others to do something that they would rather not engage in. Family members are the most common enablers. Loved ones may simply feel that they are doing their job.

This form of enabling can be the most difficult to overcome. As you continue to be there you become complicit in the destructive behaviors. You can put an end to enabling behavior. You, family members, and friends of those struggling with alcohol are encouraged to attend classes. You may even consider enrolling in support groups for those with alcohol problems.

How Do I Stop Enabling?

Stopping enabling is incredibly difficult without professional help. Especially if your behavior is born from a genuine desire to love and help the person. You must identify how your behavior is enabling.

As an enabler, you may suffer from co-dependency. A co-dependent person needs a relationship to make themselves feel better. Co-dependent people often see the fault is not in the other person, but everyone else.

A co-dependent enabler will engage in behaviors that make the other person reliant, which causes them to reach out for help. Just like any other addiction, an enabler engages in behaviors that are unhealthy. This can be at the cost of their sanity. You cannot fix someone who does not want help. Your involvement only further enablers the alcoholic.

Effects and Abuse of Enablers

Alcoholism is a problem that comes from within. However, the people who enable them are just as destructive. Recovery begins within the addict. However, it is also important to consider the influence that you and others can have.

You might be afraid of what the person will do if you stop helping them. Nevertheless, you must consider what will happen if you continue enabling. To stop being an enabler you must create and maintain healthy boundaries.

Detaching yourself from their problems is most important. At first, these may seem hard and uncomfortable, but this is the first step in your recovery for each person.

Mental Illness and Enablers

It is natural to want to make another person’s problems disappear. You may find it so easy to just jump right in and remove obstacles and make things easy. This is the worst form of help you can do for someone trying to recover for a substance use disorder. Enablers want to make the healing process easy, but instead, you end up doing all the work.


You need to first recognize your role in the relationship. Once you identify how your behaviors contribute to the problem you can address it. The next step is to stop making it easy for the alcoholic to drink abusively. It is critical to stop excusing the behavior.

Stop giving them money, helping to cover up consequences, and reacting to the alcoholic. It is vital that you set healthy boundaries and stick with them. When a recovering alcoholic is ready to put their lives in order, they need support. This is an ideal opportunity to supply positive assistance, empowering them, not enabling.

12-Step Programs

Enabling is an effort to control an uncontrollable situation. To stop enabling behavior you must work through your sense of denial. In truth, your intentions and worry are valid, however, you are only making the problems worse.

You cannot change the addicted person in your life. Still, you can change your behaviors and your reactions to the situation. When you attend a meeting, you will share the experiences of others who have walked a similar path.

You can grow confident as you address how your behavior contributes to the problem. Share the heartaches of watching someone you love to continue to make poor choices. In a 12-step program, you can gain the confidence to stage an intervention.

This is one of the most effective tools to help get your loved one into treatment. It also allows you and other family members or friends to present a unified front. Together, you can set some healthy boundaries and stop enabling.

Payment Information

Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.

How to Get Help

Are you tired of asking what is an enabler? Are you tired of being an enabler?

At Resurgence Behavioral Health we offer many educational classes and treatments.

Let us provide you with practical solutions for your unique circumstances.

Call Resurgence Behavioral Health at (855) 458-0050 to schedule your consultation.