DO YOU NEED NAR-ANON?
(A Questionnaire for Parents, Spouse, Relatives,
If you have answered YES to four or
more of these questions, NAR-ANON may be able to give you the
answers you are looking for.
What is enabling?
Enabling is doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves. When we enable addicts, we prevent them from experiencing the consequences of their own actions. When we do this, we discourage them from learning from their own mistakes. This, in turn, prevents them from realizing they have a problem.
addict has made drugs the focus of their daily activity, letting
responsibility and common sense fall by the wayside. When we continue to
do even the simple things for an addict we care about, little is left to
motivate them to enter or rediscover their recovery.
How do we enable?
We enable addicts by doing things such as:
What does enabling do for us?
Enabling gives us a false sense of control. We do what society tells us a "good" father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter or friend should do, but we are not getting the results we desire. We feel frustrated and resentful. Because the addict's behavior does not change, we think we have failed.
Our actions, done
with the best of intentions, have back-fired.
We need to look deep
inside ourselves to determine the difference between helping and
enabling. "How do I feel when I offer my help? What's in it for me?"
Checking your motives will help you decide when you are truly helping or
when you are enabling.
Can you enable an addict (or anyone) who is not using?
We can enable anyone, using or not. Our enabling behavior patterns are not directed solely toward the addict and/or the addict's sobriety. Enabling deprives anyone of experiencing the consequences of their own behavior.
Remember, when taking
responsibility for our own behavior each one of us must find our own
path. Experience teaches us that it is useless to lay out a path for
someone else to follow.
Helping the Addict
What is Co-Dependency?
Co-dependency is a pattern of habitual self-defeating coping mechanisms. This is often a result of living in a home affected by alcoholism or drug addiction. In these types of homes there are three messages:
In a healthy family, members can talk, can feel, and they can tell the truth. Living in an environment where one feels as if they're constantly "walking on egg shells" and "waiting for the other shoe to drop" causes a great deal of stress and anxiety. This stress/anxiety is heightened when there are rigid, inflexible rules and belief systems imposed on people trapped in one of these families. As a result, the co-dependent develops habitual self-defeating coping mechanisms in an attempt to survive: such as - my fear of rejection determines what I say or do or, I like to avoid your anger. Further to this, these mechanisms cause the co-dependent to be out of touch with who they are because they have been in a mind altering experience.
Co-dependency is multi-generational and can be present even when there is no active drinking or drug use. Co-dependency is a disease which has, as its basis, a dysfunctional family of origin.
Who Can Become a Co-dependent?
Where do we need to look for this dysfunctional behavior of emerging patterns of co-dependency? We will find it in a person who is either alcoholic or non-alcoholic and who has been adversely influenced by one of the following types of people:
The end result is an inability to maintain functional relationships. In fact, co-dependents don't have relationships so much as they take "hostages" while feeling that they are "held hostage".
Most co-dependents have been searching for ways to overcome the dilemmas of the conflicts in their relationships and their childhood. Many were raised in families where addictions existed - some were not. Many were later influenced by an addicted or co-dependent person. In either case, the reality in co-dependents' lives is that co-dependency is a deeply rooted compulsive behavior and that it is borne out of sometimes moderately, and sometimes extremely dysfunctional family systems.
Often, co-dependents have experienced in their own ways the painful trauma of the emptiness of their childhood and relationships throughout their lives. They attempted to use others, their mates, friends and even their children as their sole source of identity, value and well being and, as a way of trying to restore within themselves the emotional losses from their childhood. Their histories may include other powerful addictions which they have used to cope with their co-dependencies. The bottom line here is that those other addictions may possibly be symptoms of a co-dependent personality.
The Three Stages of Co-Dependency
The whole process is circular and rotates within the family from person to person. What we want to do in treatment is help each other break the cycle.
Dynamics of Co-Dependents
Common characteristics of co-dependency