Enabling vs Helping an Addict in Edmonton, AB

Enabling vs Helping an Addict in Edmonton, AB

Being an “enabler” is a common term used when dealing with a family member or friend who has a loved one suffering with addiction. Although the term is used often, many people find it difficult to recognize the difference between enabling and normal helping. If you find that your loved one is suffering from addiction, first you must call Andy Bhatti’s Intervention and Addiction services in Edmonton, AB. A professional interventionist can facilitate an intervention and help your loved one accept treatment while offering guidance to everyone involved on programs such as Al-Anon that help you understand your role and the difference between providing support to your loved one and enabling their dangerous addiction.

What Is Enabling?

Enabling is defined as doing things for a person with a substance abuse problem that they normally could and would do for themselves if they were sober. In contrast, helping is doing something that the alcoholic could not or would not do for themselves if sober. Helping does not protect an addict the consequences of his or her actions.

Anything that you do that protects the addict from consequences of his or her actions, could be defined as enabling and could delay the decision of getting help for their problem. The sooner you allow your loved one to face the negative consequences and you contact Alcohol and Drug Intervention in Edmonton, AB, the sooner your loved one can receive help for their addiction and can begin looking forward to a healthy and successful life of sobriety.

How to Stop Enabling an Addict

You may have come to the conclusion that your support for your loved one is not helping them and has been enabling their habits. Learning how to stop enabling an alcoholic or drug addict can be the first steps towards helping your loved one receive the help they need in Edmonton, AB.

Here are practical ways in which you can take the first steps towards helping your loved one and stop enabling them today:


  • Call for Professional Help: Call Andy Bhatti’s Intervention and Addiction services in Edmonton, AB and receive the guidance, help and professional experience that can help guide your loved one
  • Cease Doing Anything That Allows them to Continue Their Current Lifestyle if they Refuse Treatment: Are you paying their bills that your loved one would be paying if they hadn’t lost their job or missed work due to their substance abuse? Or perhaps providing food, shelter and money? If so, you could be enabling them by providing them a consequence-free lifestyle that aids their ability to continue using without having to face hunger, homelessness in Edmonton, AB or inability to get by due to lack of money. This safety net will delay their desire to get the help they need in order to regain basic necessities such as food and shelter in Edmonton, AB.
  • Set Boundaries and Stick to Them: Saying, “If you don’t quit abusing substances, I will leave!” is an ultimatum and a threat, but saying, “I will not have substance abuse in my home” is setting a boundary. You can’t control whether someone quits their habits or not, but you can decide what kind of behavior you will accept or not accept in your life.
  • Explain to the Addict the Boundaries that You Have Set—And Explain That the Boundaries Are for You, Not for them:  One thing that members of Al-Anon learn is that they no longer have to accept unacceptable behavior in their lives. You may not be able to control the behavior of someone else, but you do have choices when it comes to what you find unacceptable. Setting boundaries is something that you do for your benefit, not to try to control another person’s behavior. In order to effectively do this, it’s helpful to detach to some degree.


  • Scold, Argue, or Plead With the Addict: You may think that when you are scolding or berating the addict for their latest episode, that it is anything but enabling, but it actually could be. If the only consequence that they suffer for their actions are verbal confrontations from someone who cares about them, they feel that they can “slide” without any real-life consequences.
  • React negatively to their actions: If you say or do something negative in response to the addicts latest screw-up, then the addict can react to your reaction. If you remain quiet, or if you go on with your life as if nothing has happened, then the addict is left with nothing to respond to except for their own actions. If you react negatively, you are giving them an emotional out.

When You Stop Being an Enabler

Many times when an addict’s enabling system is removed, the fear will force them to seek help, but there are no guarantees. This can be extremely difficult to accept.

Take some time to learn more about enabling and attend Al-Anon meetings in Edmonton, AB.
Attending Al-Anon in person will help you feel more empowered as you stop enabling, and less alone in the process. Unfortunately, none of us can control what another will do. Yet we do have the power to set boundaries and respect our own lives. The most you can do is offer help and get a qualified professional to lead them through the process to getting treatment and having the ability to live a successful life of sobriety.

If you live in Edmonton, AB and are looking for information on our family intervention services or need help with a drug or alcohol intervention Call us today for your free consultation.

Our Edmonton interventions save lives.

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