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How To Stop Enabling Someone With An Addiction

When a loved one is struggling with addiction, the natural response is to help make their situation better. But how is it possible to help and stop enabling someone with an addiction? There are ways to help a loved one and support them without enabling them and their addiction to continue. The natural desire to help can apply to parents, husband, wife, brother, sister, or friends. It goes without saying that when a loved one is hurting, those who care for and love them also hurt. However, there are ways to love them, and not allow their addiction to cause further damage and turmoil in others’ lives. 

What is Enabling?

As people who struggle with addiction, it is natural for someone to be selfish and manipulative. When that is perpetrated because loved ones give in to their desires and wants to avoid confrontation, it becomes enabling. Allowing their behaviors and actions to control those around them is not only unhealthy for the person who is struggling, but it is also extremely toxic for the loved ones who are enabling them.

For instance, when a mother or father is paying thousands of dollars in legal fees, or paying their addicted child’s bills because of their inability to do so, this can lay the groundwork for the loved one suffering from addiction to continue their behaviors that lead to these situations to begin with. It is possible to stop enabling someone with an addiction and provide loving support at the same time.

How to Support Without Enabling?

How to stop enabling someone with an addiction and still provide support begins with recognizing the behaviors. When someone can recognize they are being used and manipulated to feed their loved ones addictive behaviors, it makes the process of ending the enabling a little easier. This may be due to building resentment, anger, frustration, or feeling fed up with their manipulative behaviors. 

When the loved ones of the person struggling find themselves completely depleted of energy to continue on the path they have been on for weeks, months, or years, it has come to the point where they have to find relief. Understanding they are not as weak and feeble as they may seem is vital to stop enabling someone with an addiction. Providing support can mean being a listening ear, being a friend, parent, or sibling while still holding a boundary that their actions and behavior are no longer going to be acceptable.

If they get into legal trouble due to their behaviors, it is a consequence of their actions and a loved one continuing to save them from these consequences is only adding fuel to their continued behavior. If the person struggling loses a job due to performance or not showing up, let them put in the footwork needed to better their lives.


Codependency is a learned behavior. It is an emotional and behavioral condition in which someone is incapable of having a healthy relationship with someone because it is not mutually satisfying. It is also known as relationship addiction. Codependency is a contributing factor to enabling. To be able to stop enabling someone with an addiction, their loved ones have to understand that the codependent relationship is unhealthy and contributes to the behaviors that their loved one is exhibiting.

Boundaries and Tough Love

Setting boundaries is the first step on how to stop enabling someone with an addiction. As difficult as it can be sometimes, telling a loved one “I will no longer financially support you” or just telling them that providing a listening ear is all that can and will be done can assist in making it so they have to find a way to help themselves. When those people who usually financially, physically, and emotionally themselves become fed up and begin to put their feet down with boundaries and tough love, the person struggling with addiction comes to an understanding that there is a bigger problem than they thought.

Family Therapy

Participating in family therapy can help with setting these boundaries. It can provide a space where loved ones can freely talk about how the behaviors are affecting them, and provide a neutral party to help mediate the situation. It can also provide some much-needed support to the family.


Interventions are a way to have someone who can mediate family members to provide their loved one with options for help. They also provide guidance on how to stop enabling someone with addiction so they can begin to get better. Contacting someone who specialized in this field can be beneficial to helping this be a loving interaction, rather than the individual feeling attacked.

Getting Help for a Loved One

When a loved one is suffering from addiction, it can be a difficult thing to watch. They’re harming themselves, and causing pain to the people that love them the most. Addiction is a difficult undertaking, and proper care is crucial to recovery. At Louisville Addiction Center, we provide a safe, healing environment for those suffering from addiction to begin getting better. If someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact us today to hear about options that are available for them.