10 Signs You’re an Enabler

shutterstock_326495051When someone in your life develops a substance addiction, the resulting fallout affects everyone in the family, as well as friends and coworkers. It’s a heartbreaking situation and as a parent or family member, you want only to offer all the love and support you can manage. However, sometimes this well-intentioned need to be helpful ends up enabling the addict to continue his addiction without consequence.  If you cover for him, pick up his messes (literally and/or figuratively), or abide the drug use, then you are enabling the addiction to continue and further harming everyone involved.

So, are you an enabler?

If any of these ring a bell for you, it might be time to take a step back and reconsider how you’re “helping” ;

You continue to deny the existence of a legitimate addiction, making excuses like “it’s just a phase” or “it’s not out of control” when, in fact, it is a considerable dependency and far beyond the addict’s control.

  1. You go out of your way to avoid confrontation on the issue to keep the peace.
  2. You lie or keep secrets for your addicted loved one, hiding his drug use from others for the sake of appearances.
  3. You excuse or abide reckless or unethical behavior on the part of the addicted loved one, creating rational excuses so as to avoid confronting it.
  4. You lead with attacks at the addict with harsh criticism or accusation, firing up the anger for both of you.
  5. You attempt to control the addict so as to “manage” the problem.
  6. You tend to minimize the damage caused by your loved one’s addiction, cleaning up their messes and keeping them away from others.
  7. You like taking care of him so much that you’ll allow the addiction to continue so that you can keep him safe under your watchful eye.
  8. You continue to give them “second” chances when it’s been proven that he isn’t interested in making any real changes.
  9. You also use or abuse the drugs or alcohol to which you loved one is addicted, or perhaps encourage it in some way so that he doesn’t feel bad or embarrassed about it.


Some of these might sound absurd, while others hit the problem right on the nose, right?  We don’t mean to enable our loved ones’ addictions. Often we just want to help and these are the only ways we know how. That doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you need some help dealing with the problem.


If you have a loved one who is sick with a substance abuse problem or active drug addiction, it’s time to call in some reinforcements by calling Lead Treatment Center at 800.380.0012.  Our staff knows how to handle delicate situations in the best interest of the entire family.  Get some help today.