In the U.S., more than 70,000 Americans died in 2019 from a drug-involved overdose. Many more Americans have struggled with a drug use disorder at some point in their lives, with the National Institute of Health estimating that this applies to roughly 10% of American adults.
When someone finally comes to terms with their addiction and does something about it, that is a vital and admirable first step. However, recovery is a lifelong process, and that means learning to maintain a drug-free lifestyle and avoiding triggers.
If you’re staying at a sober living California home, it can provide a supportive environment of others who are also starting a new life and learning to live drug-free.
Are you wondering how to prevent enabling either in this living environment or within your wider network? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
What Is Enabling?
Enabling is a very common behavior in the network of people that surround an addict. While family members, friends, and loved ones often are coming from a good place, they can cross the line beyond being supportive to becoming enabling. This means that they actually facilitate the person with a substance abuse problem to continue using and to not have to face the consequences of their actions.
When people take over activities that the person with an addiction should be able to handle on their own, it allows them to continue abusing substances without dealing with the negative repercussions.
The Fine Line Between Support and Enabling
It can be incredibly painful when someone you know is struggling with an addiction. It is naturally to instinctively want to fix things and make life easier for everyone. You also might find that you don’t want to face the reality of the depth of the addiction.
There is a very fine line between being supportive and being enabling. While it can be difficult to parse out the difference on the ground, in general, the difference is whether or not you are stepping in and mitigating consequences that would otherwise come about due to their addiction.
When an addict isn’t presented with the repercussions of their actions, it means they are less likely to be motivated to change their habits.
Some questions you might want to ask yourself if you’re working you’re exhibiting enabling behavior when in sober living homes in California, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I compromising my own abilities, well-being, or morals?
Am I making excuses for the person with a substance abuse disorder?
Are there behaviors I’m not willing to point out or questions I’m not willing to ask because I’m afraid of their reaction?
Have I hidden things I’ve done from others or lied to others to protect the addict?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then your support has crossed the line into enabling. It’s important to understand the difference and create boundaries so you can be supportive without encouraging and allowing unhealthy habits.
Examples of Enabling Behavior
Enabling can come in many different forms, but here are some common examples:
Financially supporting or giving money to an addict so they can continue to spend their money on their addiction
Lying to help cover up the negative consequences of the substance abuse
Fulfilling tasks that are the responsibility of the addict
Bailing them out of jail or repeatedly paying for legal defense
Making excuses for the addict
Tolerating or ignoring problematic behavior
Avoiding the issue altogether
Taking on more than your fair share of responsibilities
Being in denial of the problem
Sacrificing your own needs
Not following through on consequences
Not maintaining boundaries you set
When someone you love is struggling with an addiction, it’s natural to want to help support them. However, when you start changing what you do and say because you’re afraid of the consequences of their drug addiction, it’s easy to cross the line into enabling.
Gain Support From Peers
One of the things you can do to prevent enabling when sober living in California is to gain support from peers. There are a number of peer support groups that can put you in touch with other people who are dealing with the same sort of issue.
If you are struggling with addiction recovery, a facility for sober living in Palm Springs might be a great choice. Learn more about using Taste Recovery to find your new home here.
Don’t Cover Up the Behavior or Make Excuses
When a person has a substance abuse disorder, they are likely not fulfilling their responsibilities in one way or another. It’s absolutely critical that they see the consequences of their addiction, as this is often one of the only things that drives them to change. When you act as the cleanup crew for an addict, you’re allowing them to continue on in the same way without any repercussions.
Never Offer Drugs or Alcohol
While this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s easy in the moment to feel as though buying or offering drugs or alcohol to an addict is the least destructive option.
It can be very difficult to live with a person that is addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s common for addicts to talk about drinking or drug use in the language of celebrating. They might say things about how they’ve been “good all week” or that they “deserve” a hit and justify cutting loose as a reward.
This type of language can make it easy to fall into enabling addictive behavior. People who have addictions are suffering from a brain disorder that means they can’t moderate their use. Any time they have access to alcohol or drugs they will use them to excess, so it’s crucial to never be the person who facilitates that.
Let Law Enforcement Step In When Necessary
No one wants their loved ones or friends to get in trouble with the law. However, a lot of the behavior that is associated with addiction is illegal. People who struggle with substance abuse disorders might:
Purchase illegal drugs
Drive while under the influence
If a family has the means, they might be tempted to help their loved ones escape the legal repercussions of their actions through aggressive legal defense. However, by doing this you are denying the addict the feedback for their actions. The ultimate consequence of addiction is often seen as a legal intervention, and sometimes this is the wake-up call that addicts need to start setting their life straight.
Consider Your Financial Relationship
Addictions can be ridiculously expensive. Not only that, but a person who abuses substances also might not have the ability to cover those costs because of their addiction. They might start doing a poor job at work or they might start missing work altogether.
Even if they manage to maintain a job, they might not have the ability to work to get promoted or find a better job. They also likely will miss out on opportunities for investment because they are not focused on financial stability and growth.
It can be tempting to help ease the monetary burden of an addict. This might be in the form of lending money, paying for lawyers, paying for rent and food, or even having joint bank accounts.
It’s important to break free from this cycle because it prevents the addict from feeling the consequences of their addiction. When you set boundaries and stop financially supporting a drug addiction, the individual might finally get the help that they’ve needed all along. Consider financially supporting a rehab or sober living endeavor, rather than supporting them during their addiction.
Are you curious about how Taste Recovery can help you find a new sober living home? Learn more about our company here.
Sober Living California: Should You Find a Sober Living Situation?
One of the most difficult things about recovery for addicts is when they return to their normal life after rehab. While they may have made great strides at the facility, returning to their previous life and environment can tempt them to start using again. Old friends, haunts, and reminders of traumatic experiences can catapult an addict back towards substance abuse.
For this reason, many people seek sober living in Southern California to help them have a supportive environment in which to continue their recovery. It provides a safe place where you know that the others around you are also working towards becoming their best selves free from substance addiction. This can offer the best opportunity to move past the era of addiction in your life and to become the person that you want to be.
By using Taste Recovery, you can find sober living homes in California that best fit your needs and support your recovery efforts. If you’re interested in sober living in Calfornia, check out these available housing opportunities!