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Enabling : The Game the Whole Family Can Play. The truth is the disease of alcoholism has affected her life, her attitude and her thinking perhaps more dramatically than it has the drinking spouse and she may not even realize it. Why? Because it crept up on her slowly. Frog In The Water

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Enabling:The Game the Whole Family Can Play


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The truth is the disease of alcoholism has affected her life, her attitude and her thinking perhaps more dramatically than it has the drinking spouse and she may not even realize it. Why? Because it crept up on her slowly.

Frog In The Water

A few years back, there was a story going around the 12-step rooms about a frog in the water. It goes like this:If you put a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will jump out faster than the eye can see. But if you put the frog into a pan of water that is the frog's body temperature and then slowly turn up the heat the frog will stay in the water -- even to the point of boiling alive. Why? Because the frog does not notice the gradual change in temperature.Alcoholism works the same way... the heat is constantly turned up but nobody notices. Cunning and baffling! A progressive disease. It may start out with casually accepting unacceptable behavior -- Oh, he didn't mean that, he just had too much to drink last night. A few years down the road the behavior has slowly grown more and more intolerable, but it is still being accepted and becomes the "norm."

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She ends up with chaos in her own home that a few short years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get those people some help!

An Insidious Disease

As that same type of behavior becomes routine in her own home, the last thing that would occur to her is to pick up the telephone and get help. She has slowly been drawn into the thinking that the alcoholic should be protected. She has learned to cover for him, lie for him and hide the truth. She has learned to keep secrets, no matter how bad the chaos and insanity all around her has become.Few who have been affected by the disease of alcoholism realize that by "protecting" the alcoholic with little lies and deceptions to the outside world, which have slowly but surely increased in size and dimension, she has actually created a situation that makes it easier for him to continue -- and progress -- in his downward spiral. Rather than help the alcoholic, and herself, she has actually enabled him to get worse.The heat increased so gradually, over such an extended period of time, nobody noticed the water was beginning to boil and it was time to jump out of the pan.The disease will continue to progress for the alcoholic until he is ready to reach out and get help for himself. Waiting for that to happen is not her only choice.The other family members can begin to recover whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. But it can't happen until somebody picks up that telephone and asks for help. There is hope and help out there.


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[DISCLAIMER] years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get


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The Enabling Process years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

Family members often enable alcoholics to continue drinking by covering up for the alcoholic's behavior. Their love and concern for the alcoholic as well as their desire to appear "normal" may cause family members to deny that a problem exists. For example, a wife may "call in sick" for her husband who is too hungover to go to work; an older child may take over the responsibility for younger siblings when one or both parents are drunk; parents may deny a child's alcoholic behavior by excusing it as "typical" adolescent rebellion; the list is endless.


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Sometimes 'Helping' Doesn't Help at All years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

Sometimes 'Helping' Doesn't Help at All

Family and friends need to stop “helping” alcoholics. They are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.

Enabling takes many forms, all of which have the same effect -- allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes.

What is the difference between "helping" and "enabling?" There are many opinions and viewpoints on this, some of which can be found on the pages linked below, but here is a simple description:

Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves.

Simply, enabling creates a atmosphere in which the alcoholic can comfortably continue his unacceptable behavior.

Many times when family and friends try to "help" alcoholics, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.

This baffling phenomenon is called "enabling," which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect -- allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes.

What is the difference between "helping" and "enabling?" There are many opinions and viewpoints on this, some of which can be found onthe pages linked below, but here is a simple description:

Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves.

Simply, enabling creates a atmosphere in which the alcoholic can comfortably continue his unacceptable behavior.

Are you an enabler?


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Effects On The Family years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

Family members in an alcoholic household often feel isolated and ashamed, unable to confront the problem affecting them all. They may also suffer from feelings of extreme guilt, wondering if the alcoholic's behavior is in some way their fault (which, of course, is never the case). The emotional damage of alcoholism can be horrible for all concerned, but it can be healed, by confronting the problem and seeking help, for the family and the alcoholic.


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Email this page! years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get


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I fix years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

protect

rescue

control

carry other’s feelings

don’t listen

I feel…tired

anxious

fearful

liable

I am concerned with:

the solution

answers

being right

performance

I am a manipulator.

I expect the person to live up to my expectations

I show empathy

encourage

share

give feedback

am honest

am sensitive

listen

I feel… relaxed

free

aware

have high self-esteem

I am concerned with:

relating person to person

feelings

the person

I believe if I just share myself, my vulnerability will encourage the other person’s trust and resulting intimacy

I am a helper-guide

I expect the other person to be responsible for himself and his own actions.

I can trust and let go

When I Feel Responsible TO Others…I am caring

When I Feel Responsible FOR Others….I am enabling


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Enabling years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

Unwittingly allowing the disease to progress to later stages by preventing the addict from having consequences from his/her chemical use

An enabler sees:

The addict’s use as the same as other, differing only in degree

Thinks the addict is fully aware of his own using behavior and its consequences for himself/others

Thinks the addict can control his use through willpower and reason

Believes addict’s using/behavior and be fixed or manipulated into more desirable behavior by the enable

When it doesn’t happen, the enabler blames himself and feels inadequate.

Intervention

The action process which interrupts

chemical use and its behavior

Intervention is to realize/understand:

That an addict’s use is symptomatic of an identifiable primary illness

Realizes that the addict is sincerely deluded by defenses, enabling, blackouts, repression and has little or no insight into his true condition

Recognizes that the addict lost control over his use, its consequences, and requires outside help

Realizes that no one can control the addict’s behavior and that trying to do that makes one’s own life unmanageable.

An interventionist knows he’s only responsible for his own feelings and behavior

Enabling vs. Intervention


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Family Recovery years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

The first step in family recovery is getting help for the family and for the alcoholic. Receiving assistance through a support group or professional counselor is the best means of helping the entire family get well. Family treatment includes: recognizing and accepting each person's feelings and needs; learning communication skills: listening, talking, using "I feel..." statements instead of" you" statements; reassuring children that family problems are not their fault; facing situations adults have been avoiding and denying.


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Detachment years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get

For the friends and family of the alcoholic, the key to serenity is finding the wisdom to know the difference between what they can and cannot change.

"... we discover that no situation is really hopeless, and that it is possible for us to find contentment, and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not."

The first time a friend or family member of an alcohlic hears these words -- read at the opening of virtually every Al-Anon meeting -- they seem too good to be true.

For many who have spent years living with the progressive disease of alcoholism and tried everything possible to keep the situation from growing worse, the thought that finding happiness while the drinking continues seems inconceivable.

Chances are happiness seems like an unrealistic goal, something that only make-believe families on television shows have. For the alcoholic family reality can become one crisis after another. Pain, heartache, agony, stress, pressure, and emotional turmoil, we've got -- but happiness?

But those who hang around Al-Anon long enough find out that the opening statement can become reality in their own lives and in their own homes. One of the keys to that reality is detachment.

As the literature says, "Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It is simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person's alcoholism can have upon our lives."


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Many times the family members find that they have become just as obsessed -- and perhaps even more -- with the alcoholic's behavior than the alcoholic is with the drink. The Al-Anon program teaches us to "put the focus on ourselves" and not on the alcoholic, or anyone else.

If we put the focus on ourselves, we will no longer be in the position to:Suffer because of the actions and reaction of others.

Allow us to be used or abused by others.

Do for others what they could do for themselves.

Manipulate situations so others will eat, sleep, get up, pay bills and not drink.

Cover up for anyone's mistakes or misdeeds.

Create a crisis.

Prevent a crisis if it is the natural course of events.

But what about the alcoholic? What happens if I stop doing all of these things that I have done all these years to "help?"

Has it helped? Al-Anon members learn that no individual is responsible for another person's disease or recovery from it. The simple answer to what to do about the alcoholic: "Let go, and let God."

As they say in the program, "It's simple, but it ain't easy." But you do not have to do it alone. There is probably an Al-Anon Family Group meeting nearby where you will find people who understand as few others can. They have been there, and by sharing their experience, strength and hope, help others to find their own path to serenity


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Parents, spouses, significant others--all eventually have to learn that they don’t have all the answer and to accept their limitations.

12-Step Programs help us do just that


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