I can remember the day so well when my father said son, I am going to make sure that I am not responsible for your death. Now what he meant by that was I am going to see to it that it is not my money or any other help that I may give you that enables you to make a choice that could cost you your life. Best decision he ever made as a father of someone struggling with addiction.
Are you an enabler?
An enabler is a person who, acting out of a sincere sense of love, loyalty and concern, steps in to protect, cover up for, make excuses for and become more responsible for the chemically dependent person. This can prevent the chemically dependent individual from the crisis that might bring about change, and thereby prolong his/her illness. Some common enabling behaviors are:
¨ Avoiding problems by trying to keep the peace. Believing that a lack of conflict will solve problems.
¨ Denying that the person is using drugs or is chemically dependent.
¨ Keeping your feelings inside.
¨ Minimizing: “It’s not so bad, things will get better when…”
¨ Lecturing, blaming, or criticizing the chemically dependent person.
¨ Taking over his/her responsibilities.
¨ Protecting the chemically dependent person from pain.
¨ Feeling superior; treating the dependent person like a child.
¨ Trying to control the dependent person.
In Luke 15:11-32 we have a story of a father letting his son go and hit bottom because of his foolish behavior. Eventually the son comes home and the father rejoices but the bible is very clear that the father did not go and rescue his son from the pit he was in. Also it is interesting that the bible tells us that the son had “come to his senses” and also returned home humble with no demands such as…..can I have my room back, my allowance back, my car back etc… No, he returned asking to be like one of his fathers servants. If you have a family member that you feel like you are enabling ask God to give you the wisdom and grace to do what’s right for your loved one.