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Am I Enabling by Assuming Responsibility?

When we have loved ones who struggle with addiction, there are multiple different ways in which we enable them and help to facilitate their addictive patterns. One of the ways we do this is by assuming responsibility, both for our loved ones and for their addictions. We blame ourselves for their hardships, for their bad luck, and for their challenging circumstances. We think we’re to blame for their being addicts in the first place, perhaps because we’ve passed on genetic traits for addiction to our children, or because we feel we exposed them to addictive patterns at an early age. Sometimes we believe we’re responsible for their addictions because we hurt them so deeply that we feel the trauma created a dependence issue that morphed into addiction. When we take on the blame for our loved ones’ addictions, we tend to absolve them of their responsibility for getting better. They often will feel victimized by their addictions and difficult life problems, blaming others instead and refusing to do the work needed to recover.

When we assume responsibility for our loved ones’ addictions, we tend to take on all the work. We research treatment centers and support groups. We’re finding them a therapist and scheduling appointments. We’re making sure they get to their meetings and doctor’s visits. Our loved ones aren’t doing their own recovery work, we’re doing all the work for them.

We want to help our loved ones, and our support will be important to their recovery, but when we assume full responsibility, we enable them to keep doing what they’re doing, which for many people, is nothing. They’re not taking any positive steps, implementing changes, making plans or setting intentions. They’re not giving thought or energy to their recovery. They see that they can get away with maintaining their addictions, and we’ll still be there to help them and do the work for them, so they continue. Nothing is pushing them out of their comfort zone. Nothing is forcing them to make changes. Nothing is motivating them to do the work to get better or inspiring them to treat themselves well.

All of the momentum for healing needs to come from within. When we’re doing all the work for our loved ones and assuming all of the responsibility, they’re not fully invested in their recovery. They’re not working to manifest the happiness or the health they really want for ourselves. They’re giving up their power to self-actualize, shirking their personal responsibility and neglecting themselves. Ultimately, they’re perpetuating their self-destructiveness and keeping themselves from getting well, and we’re enabling their addictions to worsen and contributing to their unwellness.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.