Enabling a sibling can be very counterproductive in any efforts you want to make toward helping them find relief from substance abuse and chemical dependency, and toward any efforts they themselves are trying to make toward a sober life. It’s possible for your brother or sister to get real help and achieve true healing through working with Discovery Institute. We offer addicts top notch treatment and comfortable drug rehab centers in New Jersey. Detox and rehab are not easy, but encouraging your sibling to get real professional help is their best bet to recovery.
Real Love Isn’t Always Easy
It can be hard to call out your adult brother or sister on anything at all. By this time in your life you want to be friends with them. You’ve done the fighting and the accusing, and then you grew up. The thought of going back to a younger time full of competition and contention is probably more than a little bit miserable. So it just feels too risky to hold an intervention and you can’t stand the thought of watching them struggle. “I’ll just stand by and love them, that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s what unconditional love is, right?” you tell yourself. But enabling addiction because you don’t want to hurt your sibling’s feelings can be very destructive to your relationship. It can also be harmful to your sibling’s struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. It feels like love, but it is actually one of the most destructive things you can do.
Common Ways People Fall Into Enabling Someone They Love
- Your sibling asks for money, and you give it to them over and over again. Everyone struggles with money now and again, so you don’t want to deprive your brother or sister of whatever they may need, especially if you have the funds handy. But an addict who is in the thick of it isn’t capable of thinking straight. Their body needs the chemicals they are addicted to, and they have a physical and mental imperative to constantly be using.
- You keep secrets or lie for them. If your brother or sister is using and abusing drugs or alcohol, it isn’t unlikely that they develop a habit of obfuscating and lying. It is easy to think that you are just providing them a much needed place to confide in someone, but if your sibling asks for your help to maintain a lie or tells you they are thinking about harming someone or even themselves, keeping your mouth shut is more than destructive it can be deadly. Maybe it started with a white lie so you don’t break your parents hearts, or maybe it was a lie to your sibling’s partner about where they were last night. But nothing is worth compromising your integrity, and more than that, nothing is worth reaffirming your sibling’s need to hide their struggle.
- You stay quiet while they justify their substance abuse. It’s great to be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to your brother or sister but when it is clear that they are addicted to drugs or alcohol you must not stay quiet. Addiction is dangerous and often fatal. Not saying something is a form of enabling.
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.