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To enable is to effectively work towards denying an addict from ever getting to the point where they hit rock bottom. One of the key reasons now why drug and alcohol addiction has gotten so bad in this country is because of the simple fact that people are enabling addicts now more so than they ever did before. This is to say that addicts actually are allowed and enabled to continue to abuse drugs and alcohol by the simple fact of them being helped by their parents and loved ones in any way.

Tough love is the necessary method for dealing with an addict. There really is no line to be drawn here.  When a parent is connected to an addict in any way, the key lies in their ability to put their feet down and absolutely refuse to engage in any sort of enablement of any kind. “Tough Love” as an addiction approach, means:

  • “To completely cut an addict off one hundred and ten percent. Don’t give them help. Don’t give them assistance. Don’t give them money. Don’t give them a car. Don’t give them a phone. Don’t give them a place to stay. Don’t give them water. Don’t give them any possessions.  Don’t give them a job. Don’t give them blankets. Don’t give them clothes. Don’t give them advice. Don’t give them ANYTHING.”

This might sound extreme but that is why it is called tough love. The data that this is based off of is that an addict, when an addict, will take any help that they get and turn it into an opportunity to get high again. Consider the old rule:

  • “The only time an addict will ever desire rehabilitation is when they have hit rock bottom and they will not hit rock bottom until no one enables them.”

As long as an addict knows that they can get help and aid from mom and dad or from anyone for that matter, they will not do the right thing and seek out help for their addiction problems and struggles. The key is to cut them off completely and to help them only to the degree that it helps them get into a treatment center. The thing that parents have to remember is that they will never help an addict until they get them into rehab, meaning that any action that they take to “help” an addict that is not simply getting them into a treatment center, really is not help at all, and is in fact enablement.

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