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ENABLING: The Part We Play
The hand is held out yet it's dirty, because that is exactly what we do when enabling our addicts, even though we don't realize it. We aren't helping them, we are enabling their addiction.
How many of you at some point and time have done any of the following things?
- Went searching for them in the middle of the night?
- Searched their vehicle looking for alcohol or drugs?
- Paid their bills because they didn't have money (since all their money was spent on alcohol or drugs)?
- Made excuses for them to family and friends?
- Bailed them out of jail?
- Paid their court fees or fines?
- Helped them find a job?
- Bought them a vehicle?
- Walked on egg shells around them afraid to trigger an outburst?
I've accomplished all of the above except one (searching in the middle of the night) numerous times over the years. With every single act, I thought I was doing the right thing--the loving, supportive thing--for my addict. These are all things we have done that are considered enabling behaviors. They are all things our addict can do for themselves yet they won't or they don't because we do it for them!
Let's define the difference:
Helping is doing something for someone else that they are not capable of doing for themselves.
Once we understand the part we play in the enabling process, we can choose to break the cycle or we can choose to continue to enable. If we don't choose to change then we need to understand that our addict will not change either....we are the enabler, our change is the key! Not the answer, God is the answer, but we are the key! Are we more addicted to loving our addict then we are to loving our God? Do we really believe that He is capable of loving and caring for our addict more than we are? If so, then we need to shift our focus from worrying about our addict to entrusting our loved one to God. When we stand in the way of the Almighty, we stand in the way of God working in their lives.
God may let your addict suffer consequences of their choices before He gets their attention, but isn't that what we want--for God to get to get their attention?
Hebrews 12:11 states: "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
As a mother, the hardest thing I ever had to do was let go and entrust my child to the Lord. Stepping back into the shadows, I had to learn to come to terms with the battle raging inside his mind wasn't one I could help or shield him from no matter what I did.
It is still a daily struggle for us both to not slip back into old habits.
The monster known as addiction latches on tight inside our addict's mind and fights like crazy when trying to slay it. The mental struggles our loved one goes through during the detoxification and rehab process are beyond painful to watch.
They are downright gut-wrenching.
However, it can be accomplished, just like the old adage about eating an elephant one bite at a time. The journey is long, treacherous and full of stumbling blocks yet worth every single step.