Helping Vs. Enabling: How to Tell the Difference

enabling a loved oneThere’s a fine line between helping and enabling a loved one struggling with addiction. But how do you tell the difference? And how do you know when your “help” isn’t actually helping and may even be delaying treatment?

Let’s start by looking at the definitions:

  • To help someone means to do something for someone else that they are not capable of doing for themselves.
  • To enable someone, on the other hand, means to do something for someone else that they can and should be doing for themselves.

So “helping” by doing a loved one’s chores or completing his or her school or work obligations is really enabling him or her to shirk responsibilities in favor of pursing the addiction.

It’s perfectly natural to want to help your loved ones, whether a child, spouse or sibling. And even if your desire is well intentioned – you could be causing more harm than good. This is because picking up the pieces or pretending that everything is OK can prevent him or her from dealing with the consequences, getting help and getting well.

Here are a few more examples of “helpful” acts that are actually enabling your loved one:

  • You make excuses to his/her employer or teacher about why he didn’t show up or is always running late.
  • You pay bills or debts.
  • You cover up any acceptable behavior or make-up lies or excuses to others (even yourself).
  • You take on more to compensate for your loved one’s failure to meet responsibilities.
  • You bail out your loved one from disasters created due to active addiction.
  • You put your own needs aside to continually take care of your loved one.

Healing Families at Christian Rehab
If you or someone you care about is caught in the bondage of drugs or alcoholism, Christian Rehab Network can help. We help families to find faith-based drug rehab programs based in Biblical truth. To learn more, call today: 877-310-9545.

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