What is an Enabler in Alcoholism?

Living with an alcoholic can be challenging to manage. While you want to make sure they are safe and healthy, you need to help them in a way that does not further condone their addiction. Here, we’ll explain what an enabler in alcoholism is so you can ensure you’re providing proper assistance to your addicted loved one.

If you or your loved one need a safe space to recover from addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our short- and long-term recovery programs.

Enabler Defined

As with any addiction, alcoholism can lead to destructive behaviors that harm a person physically, financially, legally, and more. Enablers are people who try to prevent the alcoholic from experiencing the substantial harm caused by their destructive actions.

Although enablers are ultimately trying to help and protect the addicted, in doing so, they are allowing the addiction to continue and never let the alcoholic experience the serious consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, these serious consequences are often the wake-up call alcoholics need to accept that they have a problem and seek professional help.

Enabling Behaviors

Below are some common behaviors that enable a person’s addiction:

  • Taking over the addict’s responsibilities. This includes lending them money to pay their bills, offering them a free place to stay, doing their chores, bailing them out of legal situations, dropping plans to pick them up after drinking, and more.
  • Hiding their behavior. For instance, if the addict shows up to an event intoxicated, or doesn’t show up at all after agreeing to attend, an enabler would cover for them by making up excuses for their poor behavior.
  • Turning a blind eye. If you live with the alcoholic and turn a blind eye to shifty behaviors such as sneaking out late at night, hiding alcohol in the home, and hanging out with poor influences, you are enabling the addict. This also includes ignoring and denying the signs of addiction altogether.
  • Making the addicted the priority. Often times, enablers are so concerned for the addict that they constantly place the alcoholic’s needs over their own. They will adjust their whole schedule or drop plans to help the addicted, whatever the circumstances may be.

Correcting Enabling Behaviors

Now that you know some of the common enabling behaviors, below are ways that you can properly help your loved one:

  • Let them experience consequences. While this may hard to do, it is necessary in helping your loved one realize the gravity of their addiction. This means no longer makes excuses for them or taking over their responsibilities, even if they might get into financial or legal trouble. They need to learn that their reckless behaviors have a real, serious effect on their life.
  • Create firm boundaries. It’s important to set firm boundaries with the addicted, for both their sake as well as your own. If you’re living with them, for instance, you might make it clear that no alcohol is to be consumed in your home, and you may even set a curfew.
  • Help them seek recovery. This can be a difficult step for the alcoholic to do alone. If they are open to the idea of seeking professional assistance, the best thing you can do is be there for them and help them start looking for help.

Contact Myrtle Beach Recovery

We hope you better understand what an enabler in alcoholism is. If you believe your loved one needs professional assistance managing their alcoholism, don’t hesitate to reach out to Myrtle Beach Recovery. We offer short-term and long-term recovery programs, providing a safe place to work through the 12 Steps. Contact us today to find out how we can help.