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When Helping Doesn't Help - Enabling
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 • Posted October 28, 2009

“Enabling is anything that I do that might make it easier for the alcoholic to continue in the progression of the disease….anything that will prevent him/her from facing the natural consequences of their actions, like: Bailing them out of jail instead of letting them sit there; Lying for them so they don’t lose a job or are embarrassed; “Fixing” things so they don’t get a DUI; Putting a roof over their head or food on their table when they should be doing that for themselves.

The reason for this is, until the alcoholic’s drinking, thinking and behavior becomes painful enough they will not reach out for help. If I do something to prevent them from feeling the “pain” that would be a natural result of their own actions, I am preventing them from hitting that “bottom.” I am putting “pillows” under them, so they don’t even know they fell. If they never face the pain their drinking causes, why should they ever quit?

In my case, I did many, many things to enable the alcoholic, over and over again. I would love to be able to tell you, that when I finally stopped enabling the alcoholic she suddenly came to her senses and reached out for help. But the truth is, she just changed enablers!

But today I know that finally I started doing my part right. The alcoholic is still out there, but it’s not because I have enabled her to continue. That lesson I have learned in Al-Anon has carried over to other relationships in my life. So, now when I meet other alcoholics in my life, I know better than to do anything to “rescue” them, from the consequences of their own actions.”

Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution. It is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems. We meet every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Historical Building. Please call 347-5805 or 258-4441 for more information.

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