Tag Archive: addicted family member

  1. How to Know if You’re Enabling a Teen

    Leave a Comment

    It is difficult for parents when their teen is struggling with an addiction. They want to do everything they can to support their teen. But unfortunately, what the parents consider supporting their teen often means enabling. It’s not intentional, however, it doesn’t help the teen.

    What Is Enabling

    By definition, enabling means doing something for someone that they are capable of doing themselves. When parents allow a teen struggling with addiction to avoid or delay consequences of their behavior, it is defined as enabling. It is a tricky concept and has roots in substance abuse treatment, where this kind of behavior is commonly seen in the people who care about the individual or teen who is struggling with substance abuse.

    What are the ramifications of enabling? When a parent continues to make excuses for their teen’s substance abuse, thus delaying any consequences for them, as well as taking away the teen’s motivation to stop their abuse of drugs or alcohol and start taking responsibility for their actions.

    Examples of Enabling

    A parent may be enabling their teen if they do any or all of the below:

    • Agreed to lie when their teen missed school or work, such as calling in sick on their behalf.
    • Let their teen return home after running away without any consequences.
    • Avoiding confrontation with their teen over unfinished chores due to concerns about their response.
    • Choosing to believe their teen’s stories about what they’re doing and turning a blind eye to the truth.
    • Not expressing concerns about their behavior to them.
    • Loaned them money knowing it will probably never be returned.
    • Ignored possible signs of teen drug use or self-harm.

    The Dangers of Enabling

    It is ironic that the parents’ enabling behavior comes from their good intentions to help their teen. If the parents have been enabling their teen, then it is important to note that the enabling behavior may be hurting the teen in the long run. It goes without saying that when the teen struggling with addiction doesn’t have to take responsibility for their actions or face consequences because their parents keep making things easier for them, then it’s going to take that much longer for the teen to recognize just how serious their problems are and want to make any real change.

    Once the parents realize how harmful their own behavior is, they should start to back off and let their teen begin to deal with the consequences. Ultimately, this is what will help the teen struggling with the addiction to heal.


    With a unique approach to adolescent care, Sustain Recovery provides long term residential solutions. Our programs offer a safe and structured environment wherein adolescents are able to maintain a meaningful, fun and substance free way of life.


  2. Addiction and Homelessness: How to Help a Loved One at His Lowest


    addiction and homelessnessBy some estimates, between one fourth and one third of all homeless persons suffer from drug or alcohol problems. Drugs may be the cause of or the result of homelessness, but the connection between homelessness and substance abuse is beyond question. If someone close to you has suffered from drug addiction and has taken to the streets, that person’s long-term prognosis will not be good, but you will have options to help that person and to recover him from a life of harm and decay.

    Helping a Homeless Loved One

    Your initial reaction when you discover that someone you love has become homeless will likely be akin to panicking. You will feel a need to head out into whatever streets have claimed your loved one to bring him or her back to your abode. Panic reactions are normal, but they may not be the best option. Your ability to help a person that you care about will be enhanced if you first calm yourself down and force yourself to move deliberately and with proper planning and strategy. Rescuing your loved one with no consideration of how to address his or her addiction problems is, at best, a temporary solution. Before long, if untreated, your loved one’s addictions will push him or her back to the street.

    When you have calmed yourself and recouped your perspective, do some research into homeless shelters and addiction recovery programs that are designed to help homeless persons. A day or two of research will show you the available options, and you can choose the best option for the person you are trying to help. If you then re-connect with that person, you can take him or her directly to the shelter or center, where treatment for both the homeless problem and the drug addiction can begin.

    Addiction and Homelessness

    Many addicts who have lapsed into homelessness will sense that they have hit “rock bottom”, and that sensation may lead to a feeling of desperation that can drive a homeless person to do whatever is necessary to survive. Because of this, a homeless person might need to address legal problems in addition to his or her drug addiction. Be prepared to retain an attorney who can be your loved one’s advocate if legal problems do threaten to interfere with his or her recovery.

    Even under the best circumstances, recovering from drug addiction can be a years-long process that requires commitment from both the addict and from his support community. When an addict has fallen into homelessness, the challenges will inevitably be greater. A homeless addict will need to restart his finances, find a place to live after he is out of any rehab facilities, and start a program of counseling to address his addiction and any psychological issues that can threaten his stability. You will best be able to help him by supporting and encouraging him in these endeavors and by making sure that he is adhering to whatever plans or structures you helped him to put in place. Ultimately, the homeless drug addict will need to resolve to help himself. Your role is to keep your loved one on a path that helps him do that.   


    Please call the Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052 for more information on how you can help a loved one in your life who has become homeless, and for assistance in creating a recovery program that is specific to his or her situation.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.