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          Health

          Are You an Enabler?

          November 06, 2003

          An enabler is a person who, acting out of a sincere sense of love, loyalty and concern, steps in to protect, cover up for, make excuses for and become more responsible for the chemically dependent person. This can prevent the chemically dependent individual from the crisis that might bring about change, and thereby prolong his/her illness. Some common enabling behaviors are:

          • Avoiding problems by trying to keep the peace. Believing that a lack of conflict will solve problems.
          • Denying that the person is using drugs or is chemically dependent.
          • Keeping your feelings inside.
          • Minimizing: “It’s not so bad, things will get better when…”
          • Lecturing, blaming, or criticizing the chemically dependent person.
          • Taking over his/her responsibilities.
          • Protecting the chemically dependent person from pain.
          • Feeling superior; treating the dependent person like a child.
          • Trying to control the dependent person.
          • Enduring: "This too shall pass."
          • Waiting: "God will take care of this."
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