Am I Enabling?

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be one of the hardest things someone can experience. This is especially true for close family members, like children or parents. People who are suffering from addiction can become very manipulative in order to continue their substance abuse. The person who is at the other end of this manipulation and allows their loved one’s addiction to continue with little to no problems is considered to be enabling.

Signs You Are Enabling

You may have considered that you are enabling your loved one. Small acts, such as giving your loved one money when they ask or allowing them to use in your home, are obvious signs of enabling. However, enabling goes much deeper than that.


Enablers often ignore their loved one’s use and negative behavior. This means overlooking their problem, or denying that it is even occurring. They may allow their loved one to frequently argue with them, become complacent when they are out late night after night, or ignoring that their physical appearance or social circle has begun changing.


Blaming others for the addict’s negative consequences or for their addiction is a common trait of an enabler. This means blaming their social circle and people around them for the negative patterns that occur. They can blame their job situation, their spouse or many other things for the addiction and never assume that the addict has an issue.


Enablers tend to lie about their loved one’s addiction so that they are not judged. There is a huge stigma surrounding addiction, in which many people in the addiction think that others assume they have low moral standards because they are suffering from a person with substance use disorderion. This causes the addict and people close to the addict to hide the addiction and lie about their situation, even when it is obvious to others.


An enabler will do whatever they can to protect their loved one from harm, even times acting out of fear. Enablers do not want to suffer any of the negative consequences of the addiction, so they do whatever they can to keep the peace. This will include giving the addict a place to live so they are not on the street and allowing them to use in their home. It also includes giving the addict money, letting them borrow things or prioritizing their needs above their own. Enablers tend to neglect their own personal responsibilities in favor of their loved ones’, and this often turns into resentment.

How Can I Stop Enabling?

Addiction is a family disease. There are many other people that your loved one’s addiction effects and that likely includes you. If you are ready to stop enabling your loved one and empower them to get help, there are a few things you can do to break the cycle.

Get Your Control Back

Let’s face it, your loved one controls your life. You are at their beck and call and give them everything they need in order to support their addiction. They put you in situations that put you in danger, and you are done living in fear. This can include anything from performing drug deals at your home, using in your home, driving your car while intoxicated and more. You have the power to stop allowing them to do this to you.

Create Boundaries

In order to get control back of your life, you will need to create boundaries with your loved one. This may include cutting them off financially, telling them they need a new place to live or cutting off communication with them entirely. In addition, you can reward them with these things if they decide to go through with treatment.

Stop Cleaning Up Their Messes

The time to stop lying about their behavior, blaming others and cleaning up their messes stops now. You are not responsible for the domino effect that happens when your loved one is intoxicated. Have them start taking responsibility for their own actions, so that their own realization of their addiction can begin.

Join the Family Program

Drug and Alcohol Addiction is a family crisis. It has affected the family in every negative way possible, if addiction has been in your family for a long period of time, you have learned how to navigate its effects. The purpose of the Cliffside Malibu Family Program is to prepare and educate families and individuals with information about substance abuse and the underlying issues that fuel the behavior that ultimately leads to destructive relationship patterns.

Our weekly comprehensive family program incorporates not only the individual’s stage of readiness but also the families’ current stage of change. Our program is designed to educate and process with individuals and their families in a group atmosphere supported by addictionologists, doctors, Psychiatrists, therapists, and certified addiction specialists.

Individuals and family members will have a better understanding of the Stages of Change Model, codependency, family roles, boundaries, psychopharmacology, brain neuroanatomy, depression, anxiety, better communication skills, and other related topics. Family members and/or significant others will have the opportunity to explore their own influences on the family homeostasis.

About Cliffside Malibu

Enabling can be a difficult habit to break. Many enablers see their enabling behavior as an act of love to protect their loved one. Being the lifeline between your loved one and their addiction is not an act of love. You can break the cycle of enabling, and it begins with getting help for not only your loved one – but for yourself, as well. If you are ready to stop this cycle, give us a call. Our admissions staff are on hand 24 hours a day to answer every question you may have.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. Treatment plans are created based on a client’s current stage of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, or Maintenance. This model helps ensure that all patients receive the best treatment path possible based on their own specific need. Moving our clients through this model to completion successfully is our goal each and every single day.

Cliffside Malibu’s policy is to ensure that all people who choose treatment with us receives the best care possible. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit