When a family member or a friend is addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s normal to want to do almost anything to help them.
There will be times, though, you won’t be able to say, “Yes” to their requests for help. It’s not easy an easy thing to turn them down; however, it is necessary if you want to avoid enabling your loved one in their addiction.
Why It’s So Hard to Say “No” to an Addicted Family Member or Friend
You May Feel as Though You Are Letting Your Loved One Down
If you have ever said something to the addicted person in your life along the lines of, “I’ll always be there for you” or “I’ve got your back,” turning them down when they come to you looking for help may feel as though you are backtracking on promises previously made.
Saying “No” May Produce a Sense of Guilt
Some people feel guilty when they say “no” to a loved one. They want to be liked by the people who are nearest and dearest to them. It’s important to them to keep the peace.
You May Be Trying to Avoid Conflict
Saying “yes” can sometimes be easier if digging your heels in and saying “no” might lead to an angry outburst. If you are the type of person who finds dealing with conflict very stressful, you may go out of your way to avoid situations where you have to turn someone down.
Your Loved One Knows Exactly Which Buttons to Push
It’s not uncommon for someone with a substance abuse problem to manipulate relatives and friends to get things they need to keep their addiction fed. This is not a dig against your loved one’s character at all. It’s a statement about her disease.
Addiction is known as a brain disease because it changes the way those who are affected by it think. Someone who is actively using drugs or alcohol no longer has any control over whether they are going to use or drink. At this point, the addiction has taken over.
Your loved one knows you very well and has an insight that someone who is an acquaintance lacks. He really wants to get his needs met and knows exactly what to say to get you to respond positively to what is being asked of you.
Your Loved One May Try to Blame His Addiction on You
If you find yourself being pestered (or even pressured) to give the answer your addicted loved one is looking for, it’s probably because this tactic has worked previously. Other people may bring up events from the past and try to blame you for them as a means to get what they want now. “If you had/hadn’t done [X], then I wouldn’t be using/drinking.”
These types of statements aren’t at all accurate. They represent an addicted person not taking responsibility for his own actions. Sadly, this victim mentality is not uncommon among those living with this disease.
You Hope it Will Be the Last Time You’re Asked to Help
Another reason you may feel as though it may be a good idea to agree to help out your addicted loved one is that she is telling you that this will be the last time your assistance is needed. You may have heard this before. If you point that out, you will likely hear something along the lines of, “But, this is absolutely the last time.”
Addicted Loved Ones Need Professional Treatment
You may hope that if you give in and provide financial support, a place to stay, or whatever your addicted loved one is asking for, he will stop using. This is not likely to happen without help.
Counseling and professional support can help your loved one break free from addiction. Great Oaks Recovery offers residential addiction treatment for men and women with a multidisciplinary approach, as well as continuing care and family programs.