What is the difference between helping someone and enabling them?

I don't understand the term "enabling". How do you know when you've crossed the line from helping an addict to enabling them?

asked 25 Feb '12, 15:38

AvianaGT's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Related Questions:

Enabling is when someone helps an addict attain the means to continue their substance use. Providing an addict with money, ignoring an addict's substance abuse, even drinking in the same room as an alcoholic can be considered enabling on some level. If the action moves an addict a step closer to using, it is enabling.

(03 May '12, 16:19) admin ♦♦


Drug Addiction

Many people enable others' drug addictions without even knowing they are doing it.


Alcohol Addiction

Due to the legality and availability of alcohol, alcoholics often struggle with peer enabling.

Enabling is anything that helps someone avoid the consequences of their own unacceptable behavior. When we do something for someone that they could and should — or perhaps should not — be doing for themselves, we are enabling. This is especially true if it helps protect them from the results of their action or inaction. Examples would be paying an addict’s rent so that she will have a place to stay, buying liquor for an alcoholic to keep him off the streets, buying ice cream for an overweight diabetic, or remaining silent about suspected child abuse because “it’s none of my business.”


answered 27 Feb '12, 18:48

iKnew's gravatar image

accept rate: 4%

The best rule of thumb about enabling is common sense: if what you are doing is preventing someone from facing the consequences of their own actions and protecting them from pressure to change for the better, it is enabling. Even if it seems like a kindness, if it makes it easier for them to keep doing what they’re doing, it is enabling. People who do not have to face the results of their actions have no reason to change the way they live their lives.

Offer another answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 25 Feb '12, 15:38

Seen: 2,593 times

Last updated: 03 May '12, 16:21