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What is enabling?

Kathy Sowder
Kathy Sowder on behalf of MDLIVE
Psychology
Enabling is usually thought of as the behaviors the loved ones of an alcoholic or addict use in response to the addict`s behavior meant to protect him, but resulting in aiding the addict to stay in denial and keep using. Examples of enabling behavior include bailing him out of jail, loaning him money, covering for or lying about his whereabouts, and riding with him drunk or high. Usually enabling is done with good intentions or out of not knowing any better, but if these behavior are done repeatedly after the loved one is educated about addiction, they may be compulsive and the enabling person may not be able to stop without help. The enabler may use the same defenses as the addict does for using, including denial, justification, rationalizing, and blaming. This is why often the loved ones of the addict are called codependents; their life becomes as focused on the addict at the addict`s life is focused on the drugs/alcohol. There are twelve step Alanon groups, individual therapy, and treatment program groups available to help the enabler change their behavior and put the focus back .on taking care of themselves

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.