Menu Close

Am I Helping a Family Member with Addiction … or Hurting Them?

Supporting Those Going Through Drug Addiction Recovery

It’s a natural instinct to want to help a family member with an addiction. At times, however, we can mistakenly offer help that perpetuates rather than solves a problem, and our “help” actually hurts our loved one. Psychologists call this enabling. If you want to understand the difference between helping a family member with a drug addiction recovery and enabling them, here is some expert advice.

A simple way to distinguish between helping or enabling a family member with an addiction is to ask yourself if you’re doing something that your loved one can’t do for themselves. If so, you are very likely helping. But if you are doing something that your loved one can and should do for themselves, you might be hurting and enabling more than helping.

Think of helping a family member with an addiction this way:

helping is empowering.

Here are some pitfalls to avoid when trying to help a family member with drug addiction recovery:

  • Helping a family member financially: Giving money is a generous gesture. However, money can be misused to support a substance addiction.
  • Making excuses or telling lies: You are not responsible for your loved one’s behavior. Resist the urge to make excuses for your family member and allow them to face the consequences of their actions.
  • Providing housing: Instead, help them enter a recovery program. An interventionist is a valuable resource when your next step is seeking residential treatment for a family member.

Helping a Family Member with Addiction Starts with Letting Go

Letting go of control is one of the most difficult choices families face during a substance abuse crisis. Family members must realize they can do only so much. Acknowledging limitations can be especially difficult when a family has seen a loved one recover and relapse in the past.

It’s Important For You To Stay Healthy During This Trying Time

In addition to letting go, however, family members should take care of themselves. It’s difficult to provide quality support to an addicted loved one if you are sick and exhausted. Family members should keep themselves healthy. Do this by getting adequate sleep, eating well-balanced meals, engaging in regular exercise, and taking time for meditation, reflection, or taking time for themselves.

If you would like to consult with someone about the roles of family members in drug addiction recovery, reach out to Recovery Centers of America today. Call our team of care advocates 24/7 at 1-800-RECOVERY.



Treatment Advisor
Standing By, 24/7