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Don't Be An Enabler!
The Do's and Don'ts of Helping

“Do’s” for helping Your Friend
| “Don’ts” for helping Your Friend |
Things for You to Know

Enabling is a term we use to describe what happens when we allow someone we care about to continue in unhealthy or destructive behaviors. No one wants to be an “enabler” what we want to do is help…but we sometimes go about it the wrong way. That’s called enabling. Enabling happens if you are not aware of what it is. Below is information that can help you make better informed choices when trying to help someone.

To determine if you are an enabler ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you continually giving your loved one money, although you suspect they may have a problem with drugs or alcohol?
  • Have you ever covered up for the person?
  • Have you protected them from the consequences of their own actions?
  • Ever made excuses for their lateness, bizarre mood swings or why they aren’t showing up for work or school?

When people with problems are enabled, they rarely have to deal with consequences of their behavior. Covering up their problem behavior actually encourages them to continue using.

“Do’s” for helping Your Friend

Here is what you can do to help if you want to help someone who may have a drug or alcohol problem:

  • Encourage your troubled friends to seek help.
  • Talk to a professional drug/alcohol counselor.
  • Ask a counselor how to help with an intervention.
  • Be direct. Tell your friend that you are concerned about their use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Be sure to include specific reasons why you are concerned. Explain to them how their use is affecting you and your relationship with them. Explain to them that it is not them you dislike, it’s their behavior.
  • Set limits with them. Let them know you can not continue to spend time with them while they abuse themselves through the excessive use of drugs or alcohol.

“Don’ts” for helping Your Friend

Here are some tips on what not to do if you want to help your friend or loved one:

  • Don’t participate with them when they are drinking or using other drugs.
  • Do not enable them to get worse. For example, don’t look the other way and pretend you don’t know what is going on.
  • Set limits and don’t cross those boundaries. It is important for you to follow through. Otherwise, it gives the user the impression you are not serious.

Things for You to Know

  • Alcohol and other drug problems are very difficult and sometimes embarrassing subjects to talk about.
  • Alcohol and other drug problems can be dangerous and even deadly to users and others around them.
  • Friendship is not always easy. Sometimes being a good friend means that it is important to confront a problem with support and non-enabling behavior.
    Often people who have a problem can become very defensive.
  • Users may deny having a problem. Sometimes hearing other people say that have a problem may eventually help them realize that perhaps they do need help.



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