When Am I Enabling? When Am I Helping? How Can I Know?
Addiction Recovery for Families, Beverly Buncher, Family Recovery | February 15, 2014
Ever wonder if you are helping your loved one or enabling them? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you figure it out:
- What is your intention: to protect them or to help them face their addiction?
- What are your options?
- Have you done the inner work to insure that you are not just doing this because you are afraid of their reaction or their disapproval of you?
- Are there children involved and if so, how will your behavior affect them?
And here are some tips to help you make helping rather than enabling choices:
- Choose to work on your own recovery so that when a crisis arises, you will have the inner freedom to do what is best rather than what they are pressuring you to do.
- Have a daily quieting practice (such as meditation or contemplation) that will allow you to make decisions from a quiet inner place rather than from upset and desperation.
- Practice BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror) so that you have experience observing the facts of a situation or event without rushing to judgment or fear. This will allow you to consider your options with greater sanity should an important decision arise.
- Build the habit of allowing the people around you to take responsibility for themselves.
- As much as possible, be supportive of your loved one’s own decision making capabilities, sharing your opinion when asked in a BALM® way.
- Listen deeply, reflect back what you are hearing, and encourage your loved ones to think things through and make their own choices.
- Make it clear that you are there to help them with emotional support, but are no longer their ATM. Show by your actions that those days are over.
- Have a trusted guide (a family recovery coach, sponsor, therapist) to discuss the details of your situation with.
- Understand that although others can help guide you to your own inner wisdom and share their wisdom, they are not you and only you can decide what you will do. At the same time, do not use this idea of uniqueness as an excuse to learn from the mistakes of others.
- The recovery path is well trodden. You do not have to reinvent the wheel or go it alone!