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Don't be an 'enabler'

'Enablers' might believe they are helping when, in fact, they are contributing to a person's self-destruction.

As hard as it might be for some people to conceive, an enabler actually makes it possible for a person to continue to abuse drugs or alcohol. Enabling can come in an infinite number of variations. Instead of insisting a person get professional help, an enabler might let a drug-using person who is falling out the bottom live in the home, may help him find a job, lend him a car (which he uses to go get drugs), or bring food over to his house day after day.

Financing is a major way enablers allow drug abuse to continue. When the addicted person has lost all sources of income, if the family continues to support the person financially, that person can drive himself straight down a self-destructive path. It can take quite a feat of self-discipline to stop enabling because helping a person in trouble comes naturally to a loving family. A small loan, helping him find a new car after he wrecks the last one, calling around to help him find a job - all these acts of kindness may simply be prolonging the drug abuse.

How to do it wrong: Young woman comes home and asks her parents for $500 for rent. They ask why she can't pay her rent. She says she lost her wallet and she had all her rent money in it. Although she was short on her rent the month before and she has been sick a lot lately, the parents don't ask any more questions. They get her the cash and she leaves.

How to do it right: Young woman asks for rent money. Parents question why she can't pay rent and note that she asked for $100 to complete her rent payment just three weeks before. She makes the claim about the lost wallet. Instead of enabling, dad says the loan depends on his being able to see her records of recent expenses and paycheck stubs.  They can log into her bank account or run over to her apartment and get the records. She can't support her lies and the family does not enable her drug abuse by giving her money that will just go directly to her dealer. They can now work on her real problem.




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