What is Enabling?
What is enabling?
Enabling is doing for others what they are capable of doing for
themselves. When we enable addicts, we prevent them from
experiencing the consequences of their own actions. When we do
this, we discourage them from learning from their own mistakes.
This, in turn, prevents them from realizing they have a problem.
The addict has made drugs the focus of their daily activity,
letting responsibility and common sense fall by the wayside.
When we continue to do even the simple things for an addict we
care about, little is left to motivate them to enter or
rediscover their recovery.
How do we enable?
We enable addicts by doing things such as:
Paying their bills, making car payments, covering bounced
checks, paying bail, paying traffic tickets; Making
excuses for their behavior, changing appointments, calling
employers on absenteeism, writing late or absentee excuses to
schools, covering up for missed family functions;
Providing the addict with money, clothing, housing and food;
Caring for the addict's family by allowing them to live with us,
taking their children to school, babysitting, etc.
What does enabling do for us?
Enabling gives us a false sense of control. We do what society
tells us a "good" father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter
or friend should do, but we are not getting the results we
desire. We feel frustrated and resentful. Because the addict's
behavior does not change, we think we have failed.
Our actions, done with the best of intentions, have back-fired.
What is the difference between helping and enabling?
We need to look deep inside ourselves to determine the
difference between helping and enabling. "How do I feel when I
offer my help? What's in it for me?" Checking your motives will
help you decide when you are truly helping or when you are
Can you enable an addict (or anyone) who is not using?
We can enable anyone, using or not. Our enabling behavior
patterns are not directed solely toward the addict and/or the
addict's sobriety. Enabling deprives anyone of experiencing the
consequences of their own behavior.
Remember, when taking responsibility for our own behavior each
one of us must find our own path. Experience teaches us that it
is useless to lay out a path for someone else to follow.
I understand the concept
However, I'm wondering about after the addict has straightened
up their lives. Maybe not up to my expectations but they are
gainfully employed and off drugs.
With Xmas coming up I want to send my daughter presents, of
course. Is that still considered enabling? Or just gifts, now
that she's more stable?
hmmm, my aunt and
grandmother sent me Xmas gifts when I was using. Birthday cards
too. My kids got gifts too.
Those gifts were always and still are special to me.
Maybe I'm odd, but why cancel Christmas because she's not up to
'certain' standards? I mean the kids aren't using so I'm sure
she'd give them their gifts.
Pick gifts that are appropriate. A plaque for her
accomplishments or to help her achieve goals.
My aunt sent me condoms for old 'suckers' when I was using, each
package was made into a sucker and had a pretty ribbon on the
stick. Bunch of different colors. I thought it was funny, useful
and hella cool for her to do that.
My cousin sent me a Christmas card that read, "May ALL your
Christmas's be WHITE!!" and it had a pic of a dude with a big
pile of 'snow' on the table. It was funny, a little
embarrassing, but funny. My cousin was young and I didn't think
she knew. Still was funny though. My bad.
Don't cancel Christmas for anyone. Pick what's appropriate and
with love, like any other year.
Now here's a question.
It's a hard one to answer, I think.
Is it enabling if you accept Christmas gifts from the meth
addict that you are about 100% sure are stolen (or traded for
dope) in some way, shape or form? See, they are getting that
little happy feeling by giving a gift and some of the guilt and
shame is shed through a drug and crime gift given and their way
of obtaining a gift is being reinforced if it is appreciated.
I know it's the thought that counts...but, is it enabling the
addict to go through another day of hell feeling like his/her
life isn't that bad? Is it reinforcing the thought, "I can do
this dope and do just fine" ??
I guess for me it
wouldn't seem enabling the addict because it has to be their
choice whether they get clean or not. It's not your choice to
decide for them if their gift is appropriate or not. Do you get
what I'm saying?
Also, I have already sent my daughter a winter coat, boots, hat,
gloves and a scarf as she lives in Montana and it gets really
cold there. Last year she had to share a coat with a friend.
But I plan to send her pj's, sox, undies, and some long sleeve
T-shirts to go with some blouses. Since she's gotten clean she
has put on about 20 lbs. and she needs the clothes for work. I
bought her 3 prs. of pants a few weeks ago. I know it sounds
like a lot but she barely has enough money to buy food and rent
and I would usually spend about the same amount of money on her
anyway. I haven't mailed her gifts yet so if someone thinks I'm
going over board speak now and I'll consider all opinions!
Hi Gigi, I see nothing
wrong with sending clothes, I would remove all tags so she can't
return them anywhere, Robin
Maybe I'm odd, but why cancel
Christmas because she's not up to 'certain' standards? I
mean the kids aren't using so I'm sure she'd give them their
You'd be surprised how many people will
take gifts for their children and sell them for money.
No tags? Ebay.
Christmas presents aren't
enabling,, unless maybe your gift is money to get high on,,, or
something that enables them to get high.
When I was getting loaded my mother paid my electric bill and
sent me the receipt in a card. I was pissed,,, where's my
I will NEVER send her
money. In the past year her grandfathers have sent money for
Xmas and her birthday. They send it to me. I put it in her
savings account. She doesn't know about it and I'll give it to
her when she comes home.
Anything I send her has the tags taken off of them. I make sure
she can't take it back to the store I've bought it from. If she
chooses to sell her gifts I can't stop her. However, I know how
little she has to wear and I know how thankful she is when she
gets her packages.
My son was in Montana a few weeks ago visiting her and he took
her to shop for her pants. He said she had tears in her eyes
when he told her she could have all 3 pairs! And literally broke
down and cried when he let her have BOTH pots of eye shadow. I
had given him the money to pay for all her gifts. So I know she
won't sell them. She needs them too badly to sell them.
I have seen many things
that I would call enabling..
Its so sad because the way I have seen meth get a hold of
someone and manipulate the caring, giving and love was used in a
wrong way.. Way wrong in my eyes..
I have seen how a simple card can give a false sense to the user
(they are o.k.) and I have seen how a new vehicle from family
can give the user extra money to blow on some blow.. It really
hurts to see just how far they can go..
My guess is that the user will someday hit a point of wanting
better than the hell they live and will remember the people that
pushed, stood and fought for them to do that.. How could they
I have five children and if I got wind of them using or abusing
drugs, there is no way I could stand by and give them a false
sense that it is o.k.... I would be very careful in the steps I
would take. Life depends on it.. Not only theirs, but their
spouse, children and even me...
Enabling Methamphetamine Users - Question about my son
Supporting vs. Enabling - need advice
Son off meth two years, am I enabling or helping him now?
Back to Crystal Meth & Methamphetamine Questions, Answers & Advice
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