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How to Stop Being Enabled

How to stop being enabled

Much has been said in the field of recovery on the topic of enabling behaviour. However, for those being enabled, there is little in the way of practical advice to prevent yourself being enabled. The following article provides tried and tested methods for addicts and those with maladaptive behaviour to stop being enabled.


1. Take Responsibility

Awareness of the negative impact you, as the enabled, have upon the world around you is critical. Unless you know that your being late, led to you losing the job opportunity; or that your medical or rehabilitation treatment led to your parents' second mortgage, you cannot begin to accept the reality of your situation. Once you have awareness, you can begin to take ownership of your actions, and hopefully ensure they do no reoccur.

2. Educate your Support Network

You know far better than anyone which environmental, social and economic factors most influence you toward old behaviour. As such, the burden lies upon you, as the enabled, to teach those in your network what your specific triggers, warning signs and methods of manipulation are.

3. Receive, Accept and Embrace Direction and Correction

Those around you, when properly educated, will inevitably be giving you direction and correction. It is up to you whether you will respond to this or allow it to fall on deaf ears. Open yourself up to the advice you receive and apply it to your life.

4. Learn to Discern

Our internal landscapes made up of our mental, emotional and spiritual state are prone to huge fluctuations. Often these ups and downs can be caused by the smallest of things. You need to learn to discern what your internal landscape is doing and how best to respond. If you can feel negativity coming, take the steps to prevent or counter it. This will ensure you remaining at your strongest and avoid the temptation of being enabled.

5. Set Up Accountability

Accountability is the foundation of a successful recovery. You need to take the initiative to put in place the people, systems and checks that will prevent you from deviating off your course. With proper accountability, you will be unable to leverage off those who may enable you.

6. Never Give Up

It may sound obvious, but the road to recovery and away from enablement is a tough one. Few make it and those that do have had the endurance and fortitude to remain strong. When it gets difficult, which it will, you have to fight to avoid falling back into old ways and methods of being enabled.

By David Lacey

Counsellor at Healing Wings Youth Center



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