By Safe Call Now Admin Staff
Addiction is a powerful disease. It can change the way a first responder behaves or feels. It can also do considerable damage to the body. Its effects can even spread to the family members around the first responder struggling with addiction. A loving, supportive family can be warped into a structure that assists in sustaining substance abuse. That’s why it’s important to know what enabling is, how to identify when you’re enabling and what you can do to provide the support your loved one truly needs.
What is Enabling?
When you hear someone talk about enabling addiction, they’re describing behavior that encourages continued substance abuse. This can be as obvious as loaning someone money when you know they will use it on drugs or alcohol, but enabling can take other more indirect forms. In fact, any behaviors or attitudes that simply allow addiction to continue can be viewed as enabling. According to some studies, nearly 90% of the people estimated to be struggling with addiction are in denial about their problem, and enabling can play a significant role in perpetuating their delusions.
Identifying Addiction Enabler Behavior
Some examples of behaviors that sustain addiction may include:
- Blaming negative behaviors on others and not the addiction itself
- Helping with tasks or activities that your loved one should be able to handle alone
- Ignoring or overlooking the problems caused by addiction
- Making excuses to others to protect your loved one from dealing with repercussions
- Picking up neglected responsibilities
- Putting the addict’s needs before your own
- Repressing emotions
- Resenting your loved one for the addiction and associated behaviors
How to Stop Enabling and Start Helping
If you truly want to help, be prepared for some challenges. You may need to allow your loved one to face social or even legal consequences for him or her to realize the gravity of the situation. Reevaluate any financial support you are providing. Always encourage treatment for addiction and try to have serious discussions about the situation when he or she is sober. Approach the first responder from a place of love and concern and not from one of judgement. Al-Anon and other addiction support groups for families can help you cope with your struggles and connect you with others who are going through the same thing. These support systems can provide encouragement and stability as you try to help your loved one find healing.
If you, a loved one or someone you know needs help, call:
Safe Call Now: 24 Hour Confidential Hotline: 206-459-3020
For more information on the First Responders program: Click here
Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008
Published by armorupnow
Sean Riley is the Founder and President of Safe Call Now, a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. Safe Call Now was started in 2009 after legislation was passed guaranteeing confidentiality nationwide for all who call the Safe Call Now crisis line that is staffed by current and former first responders.
Sean played baseball for San Diego State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration. He started his law enforcement career as a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff in 1987 and later relocated to Washington State in 1990. Sean spent over 16 years with the Kirkland Police Department. His many accomplishments include being a member of the International Homicide Investigator's Association, Homicide and Sexual Assault Detective, Interview and Interrogation Specialist, D.A.R.E. Officer, Gang Officer and Certified Training Officer. Riley is also credited with solving one of the first ever elder abuse homicide cases in the nation.
Sean's prominent career in law enforcement ended in 2005 when he could no longer hide his "secret" behind the badge. Sean threw away his almost 20-year stellar police career due to alcohol and drug addiction and was headed towards suicide to become just another unknown statistic. In addition to attending college for substance abuse counseling, Sean worked as a supervisor at a local treatment center where he witnessed many public safety employees coming in and out of treatment. Riley decided to do something about it. From his own experience, he knew that first responders wanted to come forward to help, but due to the stigma attached, they would not. Admitting to a substance abuse or mental health problem is perceived as a sign of weakness and could result in the termination from a noble career. By creating a safe and confidential place to reach out for help, first responders are now coming forward in droves from around the nation to better their lives, better their families and better their careers.
Recognized as a dynamic national keynote speaker, Sean travels throughout the country to share his inspirational story. Coupled with cutting edge, interactive training, Riley hits those once thought of as "taboo" or "controversial" topics head-on.
"Safe Call Now provides education, healthy alternatives, resources and a complete continuum of care to save lives and put families back together. Through a collaborative effort, Safe Call Now has discovered when you provide an opportunity for an individual to get their life and their family back, you get one great employee back out serving the public."
- Sean Riley, Founder/President
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