Rise Recovery’s Blog

Enabling Behavior – Loving Too Much

Enabling behavior is born out of our instinct for love. It’s only natural to want to help someone we love, but when it comes to certain problems — helping is like throwing a match on a pool of gas.

Definition of Enabling
In the true sense of the word, to enable is to supply with the means, knowledge, or opportunity to be or do something — to make feasible or possible. In it’s true form, then, Enabling behavior means something positive. It’s our natural instinct to reach out and help someone we love when they are down
or having problems. However, when we apply it to certain problems in living – addiction, chronic financial trouble, codependency, certain forms of chronic depression — enabling behaviors have the reverse effect of what is intended. Here are some examples…

  • Repeatedly bailing them out – of jail, financial problems, other “tight spots” they get themselves into
  • Giving them “one more chance” – …then another…and another
  • Ignoring the problem – because they get defensive when you bring it up oryour hope that it will magically go away
  • Joining them in the behavior when you know they have a problem with it -Drinking, gambling, etc.,
  • Joining them in blaming others – for their own feelings, problems, and misfortunes
  • Accepting their justifications, excuses and rationalizations – “I’m destroying myself with alcohol because I’m depressed”.
  • Avoiding problems – keeping the peace, believing a lack of conflict will help
  • Doing for them what they should be able to do for themselves
  • Softening or removing the natural consequences of the problem behavior
  • Trying to “fix” them or their problem
  • Repeatedly coming to the “Rescue”
  • Trying to control them or their problem

Enabling Behavior — the Addiction of the Codependent
The need for an external focus, along with other lessons of childhood prepare a person for addiction to enabling behavior. Take a look at how the signs of addiction match the signs of codependency.

Early Stage

  • Relief Using or Enabling – Comfort eating, spending, working or “helping” someone with their problem in order to avoid an internal focus.
  • Increase in Tolerance – for the behaviors of the problem person.
  • Preoccupation – with the problem person or persons
  • Loss of Control – over emotions or behavior (Excessive eating, yelling at the
    kids)
  • Continued Use (of enabling behavior) Despite Serious Negative
  • Consequences – to yourself as well as them

Middle or “Crucial” Stage 

  • Family Problems – Drama Triangle or the variation below (Punishment/Forgiveness Cycle)
  • Social Problems – Embarrassment, avoiding parties where they may be “too much temptation” for your partner.
  • Emotional Problems – Depression, anxiety, chronic stress
  • Financial Problems
  • Legal Problems – Domestic disturbances
  • Occupational or Academic Problems – Loss of concentration due to preoccupation with the problem person or persons

Late or “Chronic” Stage

  • Physical Deterioration – headaches, stomach problems, stress disorders, etc
  • Serious Physical Withdrawal Syndrome – cannot stay away after a break-up or separation
  • Obsession – preoccupation increases until it takes the majority of your thoughts
  • Loss of Social Supports – stop seeing friends and begin to isolate, other people give up trying to get you to see what you are doing
  • Collapse of the Alibi System – can no longer make excuses for yourself OR the problem person
  • Drinking, Using Prescription Meds, Eating, Working, etc. to keep functioning or “feel normal”
  • Hopelessness and Despair
  • Untimely Death – accident, suicide, illnesses secondary to the Codependency

 

Reprinted with permission from Don Carter, MSW, LCSW For more visit his web site at HTTP://www.internet‐of‐the‐mind.com/enabling_behavior.html and
reprinted with permission

 

Article by Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje of the San Antonio Express News, November 4, 2013 

In the past 20 years, researchers in neuroscience have uncovered the brain mechanisms that underlie addiction — discoveries that are slowly transforming the field of substance abuse research and treatment.

But what does it really mean to say that those caught in the grip of alcohol, cocaine or other drugs of abuse suffer from a disease? Doesn’t personal choice play a role? Read the news article here… Doctor Speaks From Experience About Addiction

 

12 Step Map

“Mapping Your Steps” uses maps to help elaborate and deepen our thinking on the Twelve steps, the Serenity Prayer, the Slogans, and the Twelve Traditions. These maps have helped other people in Twelve Step work and we think they’ll help you too. Since there isn’t much room in the map to write, you have to decide what is most important to put in these spaces.

These maps are useful to help you express yourself with others and fuel discussions with your peer counselor, at peer group meetings, or with loved ones. The maps in this manual can be helpful to anyone, not just those working the program steps.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. If there is any suspicion of alcohol poisoning, call 911. Don’t try to guess the level of drunkenness.  Read the signs, learn the risks, and know what to do here to save a life