Anyone who has seen what addiction can do to a family member or friend will agree, loving an addict is like being on a never ending roller coaster. Trying to find balance between helping and enabling is difficult. Signs you may be enabling are as follows: Lying to cover up the actions of the addict, ignoring dangerous behaviors of the addict, or acting out of fear. Often family members or friends of an addict will do things they normally wouldn't to keep the peace or to spend time with the addict. These behaviors are harmful to both the addict and the friend/family member.
The aforementioned behaviors can lead to feelings of anger or regret for the family member or friend of an addict. Over time, these feelings may result in resenting the addict all while continuing to enable them. The new movie "Ben is Back" demonstrates how addiction effects a family first hand. 19 year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) is an addict who returns home on Christmas Eve. Ben’s mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), will do whatever it takes to help her son beat his addiction. She demonstrates classic enabling behavior out of desperation to help her son.
It is important for families and friends to have an outlet and obtain support throughout their experiences. Dealing with addiction is difficult for both the addict and their family/friends. Please watch the trailer for "Ben is Back". It is heartbreaking to know this is reality for many families. The good news is there are support groups, counseling, and hotlines to help you through this process.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
There are groups that focus on families who are effected by addiction, the most well known being NAR-ANON https://www.nar-anon.org/