The best thing you can do for yourself or any addict you care about is to not enable their drug addiction. Parents can fail in this regard when they are unable to accept a family member’s addiction as a serious problem. With the best of intentions, parents can unknowingly support their teen’s drug use by enabling. As sad as it is for parents to see this; it is equally an enigma to an addict as they find that their mental condition progressively responds only to their cravings. It’s important to do everything you can to stop feeding the lifeline to addiction – it can really save lives.
Too often, young addicts steal — and as a result many parents enable by not holding the young addict accountable for their actions. Often times the thought of jail, shame and the fear of loss paralyzes a family. Those who live with a drug addict and have endured many violations understand a level of madness that can’t be explained. It is a sobering thought to find that jail isn’t more dangerous than life on the streets for a young addict. A parent’s instinct is to protect their child at all costs, but drug addiction doesn’t rationalize what a second or third chance means. This disease has a course of its own — unless interrupted by an intervention. For many diseases, intervention comes in the form of medicine and care. Cancer doesn’t ask permission to be brutal, neither does addiction.
From a scientific perspective, addiction is considered a disease. Some may argue that addiction is a moral issue, but facts now show that it is a medical condition. Brain chemistry is targeted and often shows co-occurring mental disorders– the perfect storm for a young addict. This is where the worst happens. As addiction progresses, violations to an addict’s family progress and something has to give. If a parent can’t pull together the resources for intervention and treatment, they often resort to denial and enabling. But, there are things we can do for a family member struggling with an addiction that are not expensive. Behavioral changes, for starters, are free and make a big difference. In”The Second Parental Deadly Sin”, Karen Franklin addresses “enabling”