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Vunessuh's avatar

Have you ever been an enabler?

Asked by Vunessuh (16691 points ) June 8th, 2010

Have you ever enabled someone who had an addiction/disorder?

Alcoholism
Drugs
Food/Eating disorders
Gambling
Shopping
Prescription Drugs
Sex/Porn
Video game/Internet
Hoarding
Other forms of self-harm

An enabler is someone who by their actions make it easier for an addict to continue their self-destructive behavior by continuously allowing, excusing, financing, bailing out or rescuing.

If you don’t mind going into details, who did you enable, what was their addiction and what ended up happening? Or perhaps you can share the story of someone you know having gone through this.

I really don’t want anyone to join this thread and judge others for their actions. Someone who enables is not a bad person – most of the time it’s done out of love, but they can fail to see how what they’re doing doesn’t help the other person. Or, perhaps they do see it, but don’t at the moment have the ability and self-control to stop. Regardless, please keep any ridicule to yourself. Thanks. :)

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14 Answers

anartist's avatar

Yes.
To a hoarder.
Finally got the person to leave and take the junk away.

janedelila's avatar

Yes, sadly. It taught me one of the hardest lessons of my life. My exboyfriend was an alcoholic (and very, very good at hiding it). I loved him with all my heart, gave him what he wanted for Christmas (whiskey), raised his children for him (not mine), and spent ten years watching and helping him kill himself. Never, ever again.

RocketSquid's avatar

Yes, and I enjoyed every minute of it. When I shared a house with a bunch of girls, they would constantly talk about trying to lose weight and going on diets. None of them where pudgy by any standard. I always made a point to pick up cookies, donuts, pop, cupcakes, etc, when ever I had the chance, and that stuff disappeared right quick.

I don’t know if this counts, honestly. Maybe it’s preventing self-improvement instead of causing self-harm?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I just refused to be an enabler to a friend who wanted to drink at home for no reason. This is a good question, though – it made me reflect on my past and I suppose I did enable a bunch of people in their weed smoking activities.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have enabled countless individuals to be jackasses.I have no plans to quit as it would ruin my addition to that kind of entertainment.

evandad's avatar

Yes I have, and an enablee.

ItsAHabit's avatar

It is very difficult NOT to be an enabler with someone you love. Avoiding being an enabler requires knowledge, self-awareness, and most of all great courage.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Helping a person who drinks too much takes knowledge, compassion and patience. Some actions are helpful and others are not.

DO:
• Try to remain calm, unemotional and factually honest about how the person’s drinking abuse hurts you and others.
• Discuss the problem with someone you trust – a friend, clergy person, social worker, or someone who has experienced alcohol abuse or alcoholism either personally or as a family member.
• Try to maintain a healthy, normal atmosphere in the home and try to include the alcoholic or problem drinker in family life.
• Encourage new interests and participate in leisure activities that the problem drinker enjoys and encourage the person to see old friends in non-drinking situations.
• Be patient and live one day at a time. Changing behavior is difficult, as dieters and those attempting to stop smoking know. Setbacks and relapses are to be expected. Try to accept them with calm understanding and don’t become discouraged.

DO NOT:
• Punish, threaten, bribe, preach, or try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase the problem drinker’s feelings of guilt and compulsion to drink.
• Cover up or make excuses for an alcoholic or shield a person from the consequences of alcohol abuse.
• Take over the responsibilities of an abuser of alcohol.
• Hide or dump bottles of alcohol, or shelter a problem drinker from situations where alcohol is present.
• Argue with a person who is intoxicated.
• Drink with an alcohol abuser.
• Accept guilt for the behavior of a problem drinker.
Remember that changing behavior, especially becoming an abstainer, is very difficult. Be understanding and patient, but don’t accept any responsibility or guilt for the behavior of another person. You are responsible only for your own behavior.
Source http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/DrinkTooMuch.html

Silhouette's avatar

Yes, in our younger days my husband and I used assorted drugs, we enabled each other. We came up with all sorts of reasons to justify our behavior to each other and for each other. One of the drugs we used was cocaine, we were doing more and more, finally we admitted we were more than casual users. We knew if we didn’t stop we would be living under some bridge without a pot to piss in so we stopped.

bob_'s avatar

Nothing serious. Unless you count my getting a BlackBerry as helping myself to continue being addicted to the Internet.

God, I love my BlackBerry.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. One live-in partner was an alcoholic though he didn’t go on binges or rages. The problem was he was great at his job, loving to his daughter and me but because he drank in the evenings, he was lump of inertia once he got home. His family teased him and I defended him saying because he didn’t drink huge amounts and didn’t drive when under the influence then for them to leave him alone and let him have his peace.

Over time resentment built in me that had already been with everyone else and that was because he wouldn’t go out to a restaurant or go to a movie theater or anywhere once he came home. His peace of mind and “winding down” turned into arguments because we never went out anywhere I grew irritated being told to order in or snarky with offers of my own cable subscription instead of movie theater. Little things got big like hating him for slurring, dropping off to sleep in his chair, needing help up the stairs to his bed, me having to drive us everywhere, him uninterested in anyplace he couldn’t drink or smoke cigarettes, the amount of money spent on booze, cigarettes and weed.

I lasted 7yrs and then got out because I finally accepted no amount of my love or his good intentions were healing him to where he didn’t need the booze or weed every night. I started to look down on him as being weaker than other people with burdens to carry, I started resenting him for wasting my youth and embarassing himself in front of others. Love doesn’t fix everything which is sad but true.

janedelila's avatar

Neizvestnaya, I am so sorry. It’s so painful to be where you were, and where you are. Sometimes love really isn’t enough.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@janedelila
Thank you, it does hurt to walk away from someone you love but can’t help, just to keep yourself from going down too.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, to a bulimic. But I give myself a pass because I was only about 12 and just didn’t know how to confront the person, who was an adult, about what she was doing. I’d prepare her food. It was a lot of food. And she’d eat it all, then she’d go throw it back up. I couldn’t get one word out about how bad it was before I’d get the stink-eye.

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