Quit Enabling Your Alcoholic

enabler-cartoon

Have you ever had a situation when you got into the cookie jar and all was going well until you got caught?

The effort to explain your innocence was to no avail because of the crumbs all over your face.

Maybe you haven’t had the exact experience but I’m sure you’ve had one similar.

The key here is show how futile the effort to excuse the obvious.

As in the childhood way the desire for the cookie made the crumbs on my face seem to vanish.

With your alcoholic the stress and strain of the situation makes the obvious almost absent.

I believe this is a major reason enabling happens.

It’s not because you want to make excuses but rather enabling becomes the ‘normal’ response to situations.

How can you stop enabling?

Here are a few ideas.

Admit enabling

Enabling is simply taking on the responsibilities of someone else.

In the context of your alcoholic when you take on his/her responsibility you are enabling.

Some examples could be:

  • Cleaning up the mess created by your alcoholic’s behaviors
  • Calling in sick for him/her
  • Making excuses to family/friends for your alcoholics behavior
  • Buying your alcoholics booze

These are just a few. I’m sure you can add to the list.

When you finally decide your behavior is actually enabling your alcoholic’s continued pattern of use, you’re on the way to making it end.

You realize, I’m sure, enabling will never end until you finally admit you do it.

Stop all excuses

There’s no reason to make excuses for your alcoholic.

He/she has an illness.

Would you apologize because of cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other illnesses?

Of course not!

Why then is there almost a compulsion to excuse your alcoholic’s behavior.

I believe it’s because of a feeling of embarrassment.

Your alcoholic’s behavior is evidence of how out of control they are at times.

You may be used to taking on the responsibility for how out of control things are when your alcoholic’s boozing it up.

There’s no need for the embarrassment or the excuse. It’s all part of the illness.

What if an illness caused someone to walk a little strange?

I’m sure you would make adjustments and not feel responsible for how others think or act.

Apply the same here with your alcoholic.

Overcome fear

Many find enabling an easier course than to raise issues that heighten their own fears.

You might find yourself fearful of losing what financial security you may have with your alcoholic.

Others may feel like they will be alone if not with their alcoholic.

These fears need to be confronted to determine if there’s any truth to them.

Insecurity can be handled when you know what you need and develop alternative ways to satisfy it.

Fear of being alone can be resolved by making good friends with whom you can openly share.

Fear is very debilitating. You need to overcome them to stop enabling.

Trust the truth

Often the truth fades into the background because you may not want to hurt your alcoholic or you’re afraid there will be a confrontation.

Our suggestion is only to use sober times for meaningful conversation.

When you apply this suggestion there’s a better chance the truth will be heard.

I can’t promise there will never be a confrontation. You do have one thing going for you…Truth is hard to ignore.

One day at a time

There will be days when you are 100 percent successful with no enabling.

Other days you may wonder what happened.

The goal is to take one day at a time.

Learn to be successful just for today.

When you do this each day, soon you’ll find you’ve stopped enabling.

Once a pattern is established it’ll become much easier.

In what ways have you overcome enabling your alcoholic, let us know in the comment section below.




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Here’s What 4 Other People Thought...

  1. David

    I am still enabling, mostly by not speaking the truth to anyone, not even my alcoholic. I don’t buy his booze, I don’t clean anything up except to mop the floors where this sticky spots are from spilt booze. And I often take the blame for misplaced items or forgotten events or forgotten conversations. Like just this minute. Dave misplaced his keys but insisted I moved them while I was cleaning the house. I did not but I found them and because I found them, he assumes I put them them there. I just cannot be bothered to argue. I am afraid of confrontation and I’m afraid that if all the hurt and anger comes out and nothing changes, that I will feel compeled to leave. I always say I love hime and I want to stay but some days, I really just am so tired of it I want out. So I just keep on keeping on not ever saying anything of what I feel in the hopes it will all just go away.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You need to find a way to express your frustration and anger. It does more harm to you than if you were to let it out. I do agree you might want to choose how you express it.

      I see you are trying to keep the peace (if that’s actually possible). Maybe a note here or there about what you feel could get some of it out and let him know what’s happening to you. Just a thought.

  2. kat

    I FEEL I HAVE TO ENABLE ROD IN SOME WAY TO PROTECT HIM AND OTHERS , I TELL HIM BECAUSE I FOUND HIM DRUNK SO MANY TIMES COMING HOME FROM WORK TO JUST WAIT TILL HES HOME AND THEN DRINK HE ALWAYS FALLS ASLEEP AFTER SUPPER, I DON’T ENABLE, BUT ITS HARD TO DISABLE, I WOULD RATHER HIM DRINK OPENLY AT HOME THEN HIDE IT AND DRINK ON THE ROAD, HE HAS SLACKED OFF A LOT , BECAUSE HE REALIZED HE IS DRINKING AND LOOKING OLDER AFTER SEEING AN OLD SCHOOL MATE, I DO NOT BUY THE ACLKY, BUT I LET HIM DRINK IT AT HOME AND HOME ONLY NEVER ON THE ROAD, OR AT A PUBLIC RESTAURANT, AM I ENABLING HIM , I DON’T THINK SO I AM PROTECTING HIM

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Ummmmmm yes, it’s enabling but I do understand your reason for doing it. Ironically, your husband is right. Alcohol prematurely ages the individual.

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