Supporting someone who misuses opioids can put a strain on your relationship. It is difficult to feel powerless as you witness their self-destructive decisions. Managing addiction is a lot of work. But with hope, healing, and connection, it is possible to find hope again.
For those affected by Opioid Use Disorder, help can mean hope.
Loving someone with an opioid dependence (or Opioid Use Disorder) can make it hard to keep from doing things for them that you think are helpful and caring. Sometimes those acts of love are actually harming their journey.1
Know the difference
Enabling means offering help that perpetuates rather than solves the problem. In fact, it can make the situation worse.1 It can be hard to recognize which behaviours fall into this category. Here are some tips.
You don’t have to deal with your loved one’s problem in isolation. Addiction counselling and support groups are not just for the person struggling with opioid dependence, also known as Opioid Use Disorder. The more you learn about your loved one’s struggle with opioid dependence the better equipped you’ll be to help them. Here are some support groups:*
* This is not an endorsement, simply a sharing of information and services that may prove useful.
How to Recognize if You Are Enabling1
Ask yourself these questions and think about whether you are enabling someone’s opioid dependence.
Do you often ignore unacceptable behaviour?
Do you find yourself resenting the responsibilities you take on?
Do you consistently put your own needs and desires aside in order to help someone else?
Do you have trouble expressing your own emotions?
Do you ever feel fearful that not doing something will cause a blowup, make the person leave you, or even result in violence?
Do you ever lie to cover for someone else’s mistakes?
Do you consistently assign blame for problems to other people rather than the one who is really responsible?
Do you continue to offer help when it is never appreciated or acknowledged?
Talk to a counsellor for advice on how to help someone with an opioid dependence without enabling them.
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