“Enabling behavior, simply put, shields people from experiencing the full impact and consequences of their behavior.”
– What is Enabling, by Elina Kala, MA., Mental Health Professional, April 6, 2018, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Over the years, I have come to understand that every alcoholic or drug addict must hit that proverbial “rock bottom” before he or she can even begin to hope to recover. If I interfere with this process, then I will prolong the suffering of the addict and delay recovery, no matter how “good” my intentions may be. This well-meaning, but disastrous, interference is called enabling.
Think of it this way. An addict gets on an elevator as it begins to descend toward a premature death. The addict can get off the elevator at any time. Some addicts have a low pain threshold and get off quickly, get into recovery and get on with their lives. Some addicts have a high pain threshold and remain on the elevator through pain, incarceration, mental institutions and what appears to be a most certain early demise. But many of them, too, will step off because of unbearable pain and misery.