Truly loving someone means you want the best for them. However, giving them everything they want is far from what’s best for anyone. It creates codependence. And makes you an enabler.
When you’re given things instead of having to work hard to achieve them for yourself you don’t learn anything. To reach your full potential you need to be challenged. The things you fail to complete successfully teach you how to improve and help you grow. Struggling creates character and humility — and motivation.
So, if you’re supporting someone through a tough time make sure you are truly helping them. Keep in mind this famous Chinese proverb:
“Give a man a fish you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.”
When it comes to addicts it is crucial to their survival that no one enables them to continue their addiction. One of my favorite expressions is:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
It’s so simple yet incredibly powerful. If you want someone to change you need to allow change to happen. Most people don’t look to change until they hit rock bottom. Hitting rock bottom is very personal and different for everyone. For one person it may be losing a relationship, for another, it may be getting a DUI and going to jail, for addicts it may be running out of resources to maintain their addiction. You can never know what will be the catalyst for another person to decide they want to change. It may be something you can’t bear to think about happening. No matter it is not up to you to decide for someone else. If you try to rescue them from hitting their rock bottom it prevents them from ever figuring it out. You need to give them the space to discover it for themselves by observing and only intervening when it’s healthy. That’s the truly loving thing to do.
Reflections Recovery Center created a 14-question addiction enabling assessment with yes or no answers that you can take right now. Click below to take the Quiz:
Addiction Enabling Assessment
Based on your answers, they’ll determine if it appears that you are enabling, and then tell you how you can find help for yourself and your loved one, if that is the case.