Enabling is taking responsibility for the destructive behavior of other people so that they do not have to deal with the consequences of their own actions. It is also enabling to pretend that the destructive behavior is not occurring. The alcoholic is much less likely to see the need for sobriety or treatment when family members and friends are enablers.
Here are some examples:
- Denying - he/she is not an alcoholic, therefore:
Should be able to control the drinking.
Should be rational.
- Drinking with the Alcoholic
- Blaming and lecturing.
- Feeling superior - treating alcoholic like a child
- Taking over responsibilities.
- Avoiding problems - keeping the peace, believing lack of conflict makes a good family life.
- Minimizing - "It's not that bad," or, "It will be better when...."
- Agreeing with rationalization. ("Everyone in our society drinks.")
- Avoiding action by tranquilizing feelings with food work, pills.
- Protecting and controlling the alcoholic.