Addiction Recovery

04: Love is Not Enabling Addiction

November 06, 2023 Steven T. Ginsburg Season 1 Episode 4
Addiction Recovery
04: Love is Not Enabling Addiction
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to Podcast Addiction Recovery, where hosts Steve Coughran and Steven Ginsburg delve into the crucial topic of love and its relationship with addiction. Join us as we explore the importance of understanding that love is not about enabling addiction but rather setting healthy boundaries for those battling drug and alcohol addiction. Through insightful discussions, personal anecdotes, and expert advice, we aim to empower our listeners to navigate the complex journey of addiction recovery with love and compassion. Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of how to support your loved ones while ensuring their long-term well-being.

Helpful Links:
Learn more about Restore Detox Centers
Filling the Void book by Steven T. Ginsburg
Overcoming the Fear and Lies of Addiction e-book
How to Love and Set Boundaries Without Enabling Addiction e-book
Call Us for Addiction Recovery:  1-800-982-5530

DISCLAIMER:

Welcome to the Addiction Recovery podcast, brought to you by Restore Detox Centers. We are dedicated to providing valuable and insightful information on addiction recovery. However, it is essential to understand that the content shared in this podcast is intended for educational purposes only. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, we cannot guarantee its completeness or suitability for individual circumstances. The topics discussed in this podcast are based on general knowledge and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice or treatment.

It is important to note that the views and opinions expressed by the podcast hosts, guests, or contributors are their own and may not necessarily reflect the views of Restore Detox Centers. We strongly advise listeners to consult with qualified professionals, such as addiction counselors, therapists, or medical practitioners, before making any decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided in this podcast. Please be aware that listening to this podcast does not establish a client-provider relationship with Restore Detox Centers.


Speaker 1:

This is the Addiction Recovery Podcast with Stephen T Ginsberg, founder of Restore Detox Centers in sunny California. Enjoy your experience. Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Addiction Recovery. My name is Steve Coffran. I'm here with Stephen Ginsberg. He is the founder of Restore Detox Centers out in Poway, California. Stephen, so glad to be back together with you.

Speaker 2:

Yes, sir, good afternoon. It is always a good day when we can spend some time together and focus on the solution together. So happy to hear you as well, brother, absolutely so.

Speaker 1:

Recently on our website, restoredetoxcenterscom, we just put out a new ebook and it's about enabling, and we titled it how to Love and Set Boundaries Without Enabling Addiction. And you know, this is a great time to talk about this, because I think it's a very relevant topic for so many families out there who are dealing with loved ones who are struggling with addiction. So let's talk about enablement and what that means, and I'm sure you have a lot of firsthand experience with this, stephen, so I'll just turn the bike over to you what are your thoughts on enabling addiction?

Speaker 2:

I think it is categorically next to the substance that is being abused. It's the most dangerous element that exists where all of these talking points lie Enabling an addict or an alcoholic in their behavior and in their conduct and in their patterns, you are contributing to their demise. And so many times family members and loved ones have the best intentions and they feel like they're protecting, they feel like they're helping and what they're really doing is perpetuating the ailment and the illness and they are actually endangering further their loved ones.

Speaker 1:

So where do you see enabling showing up the most? I mean, you run a detox center. You work with a lot of individuals on a daily basis. You know you were an addict in the past. I mean I know you always say to me I'm an addict, I'm an addict in the present. But I mean, you've dealt with your struggles as well, but where do you see enablement showing up the most? The?

Speaker 2:

most prevalent ground always lies, for myself, with moms and dads with their children. And then the other common denominator is spouse to spouse. Those are, if you wanted me to target, the most common relationships. Where this is perpetuated, it would be in those two realms, and they are neck and neck in the race of danger.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's break these down, because I think that's a great way to disaggregate them. So, steven, let's talk about spouse to spouse first, and then we'll go parent down to kids. So, spouse to spouse. What's going on here? What are you seeing? What are the patterns that show up?

Speaker 2:

The most common one person. For most of them, this is a universal common denominator. There's just a high level of denial. The husband or wife will make, not necessarily excuses, but more really, steve, exceptions, trying to justify the patterns, trying to justify the missteps, trying to justify the unmanageability they're witnessing. And they are also not drawing hard lines, creating and living up to ultimatums and they're not setting any boundaries for their home life. And why do you think that is?

Speaker 1:

I mean, is it because a spouse is fearful? Okay, if I, you know, bring this up and really have a heart to heart with my spouse, then they're going to get mad, they're going to hate me, you're going to feel like I don't love them, I'm judging them. Is that what's driving enablement oftentimes?

Speaker 2:

Monumental levels of fear and fear and fear. That's some great lanes and avenues. Fear of lost to your point or of angering their spouse, fear of actually that they're gonna do harm to them by having boundaries, by setting ultimatums, by potentially making demands or identifying unacceptable conditions. They're afraid that it would drive them away and then then maybe they would do greater harm to themselves. And then sometimes the fear, at a rudimentary level, is just about Completely disturbing whatever sense of normalcy they do have which is amazing to me that there's any as far as just routine workplace Outsold income. So it's crazy, because it's a Bermuda triangle of issues, but at the epicenter of this is the biggest issue of all, which is addiction and alcoholism net. You're gonna end up with a dead husband or a dead wife.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, and I think there's multiple extremes here. But let's just talk about both sides of the spectrum. I mean, you have one situation where maybe a spouse comes home and the other spouse is waiting for that person to come home and they they gauge their whole happiness and Satisfaction in their mood based on how the other person is gonna react. So maybe the person comes home through the addict, they're in a great mood, they're happy and it's like, oh my gosh, tonight's gonna be A wonderful night. But then there's other times, you know, the person comes home, maybe they're, you know, they've been drinking, they've been using, and they're more angry, more irritable, and then all of a sudden you know that sets the entire tone in their relationship. Maybe talk a little bit about that side, like the, the aggression side, or you know just whether it's physical or anger or whatever it is. Let's talk about that spectrum and then we'll go to the other one and there's just, unfortunately, tremendous pockets of abuse that occurs behind substance use and abuse.

Speaker 2:

There's verbal abuse it's very sad and awful to say that there's very often domestic abuse, and that is no longer. We've hailed any longer to a Spouse of male Abusing his wife. There are times, too, where if there's a wife who has an issue with with drugs or alcohol, or they can become physically abusive and intrusive with with their husband, and many men won't raise a handle on them, nor should they, and so they're not able or not willing to defend themselves. They're doing everything him to stop it. But there's just so much of that and there's there is very often a tremendous amount of verbal abuse, so a tremendous amount of chaos and disorder, and you just don't know who you're getting when they come home, when there's active Substance abuse in the household.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely so. Let's talk about the other side of the spectrum, which is, you know, just ignore it, take passive, aggressive, pretend it's not there, or you just go numb. I mean, what are the the side effects of that? Or the implications of just, you're living with an addict, but you're just ignoring it, you're not addressing it and you just you know there's nothing in the relationship and you just go about daily life like that.

Speaker 2:

It's really just again, I'm very repetitive in the description of the outcomes it's just outright dangerous and you are in you are in figurative as far as the emotional well-being of yourself and your household and these issues. They never get better by themselves. They never regress by themselves. Addiction and alcoholism is a progressive illness by nature. It grows in scope as it's fed and acted upon and it grows in scope as it's not treated. So really address.

Speaker 2:

Yes, sir, 100%. And it's that time comes and people need support and they need people to come alongside them or they need information. They need to be bold and be willing and step up and step out for their loved ones to arrest this condition and get them the help they need so they can start living in the solution rather than living in denial and in the problem.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

So let's shift gears about kids, because you know, as parents I'm sure some parents they feel guilty, maybe because they work too much, they don't spend enough time with their kids, and then their kids develop these issues and these bad habits, and then they feel bad.

Speaker 1:

And or, you know, the kid is, you know, out of control. And you know I've seen this multiple times with friends and in families and whatnot, where the kid is just out of control and the parents like, well, you know, if I don't give them money, they're going to go get it from somebody else. If I don't buy them alcohol, then they're going to be getting it themselves. So, like you know, I don't want to harm my kids, so I'm just going to allow them to do this. Or they are smoking pot in their room and there's other family members, other siblings, in the house, but it's like, well, I don't want to say anything because then they're just going to move out, right? So how does a parent address these types of things when they're dealing with shame and guilt and everything else that comes along with enabling?

Speaker 2:

You're hitting a massive hot button for me and it's something that I am dealing with Always on a weekly basis, sometimes on a daily basis, with parents. First and foremost, so much of what you described, that's mom and dad's stuff, and mom and dad, god bless their hearts and I am very loving and nurturing and empathetic to mom and dad's plight. But I'm also very firm about what we're dealing with because if we don't address this properly, I learned up seeing mom and dad again at their child's memorial service. So there's stuff that is getting in the way of them intervening properly and demanding that there is help and that there is an arrest of the condition if they don't. And really what they need to do.

Speaker 2:

And the most important factor where this is all concerned is it's very simple Accept the help we're going to get you and offer you. If you won't accept the help we're going to get you and offer you, then you're going to need to leave this house and you're going to be cut off from any source of support. And, steven, I'm going on a little bit here, so I apologize, but again you're hitting a hot button. Well, my gosh, if they do that, they'll, they'll die, and it's hard for me, but I will tell parents often they're going to die the way they're going about their business and you're providing them the resources to continue to kill themselves. Those are hard conversations to have, but they're accurate.

Speaker 1:

Sure, and how do people respond to that when you say that, I mean because that's it's throwing it back into their face.

Speaker 2:

It's true, but never to shame them, though it's a wake up and I think it also can be a relief, steve, because I'm taking, I'm allowing in some way to take that burden off of them and help them realize you're hurting them, not helping them. I need you to trust the process, I need you to trust me and I need you to trust what is known. You cannot, you know we're not going to give a flamethrower to an arsonist right no, not to burn anything down.

Speaker 2:

We've got to find help for this individual who is suffering from this unmanageability where drugs and alcohol are concerned. And help is not infinite resources, cell phones, reloaded visa cards, a roof over their head. Just stay in bed. You're so depressed, the ad infinum. None of that helps. You are perpetuating the problem. You are not helping them catapult into the solution.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, and I agree and I think I think a lot of parents, you know, deal with that.

Speaker 1:

You know guilt and shame that I was referring to and that you touched on, you know, and and a lot of things happen in life. Sometimes, yes, a parent dies or a sibling dies or a close friend dies, or there's divorce that tears apart, for there's, you know, abuse or other things that happen in families. Families are messy life too often the kids can come back and use those things as excuses. And this is a hot button for me, because I grew up in a family that dealt with all those things right and it could have been so easy for me to just make excuses and be that victim and say, look, you know, you know you got divorced mom, so like, therefore, I'm going to go out there and live this wildlife or do whatever I want. It's your fault, you ruin my life, you know, and I could have put that back on my mom and I think that's you know what kids do sometimes. And then it creates this enabling right and I don't know if you agree or I wasn't.

Speaker 2:

Well I come. I'm not just agreeing to be agreeable, it's just that's textbook. And you know when, when a child or a loved one is in this realm of resentment or anguish or pain and they think they're going to drink poison to make the other person die, we've got a bad mix on our hands. And again, the way that parents are able to step in and step up and truly love, support and empower their child to start on that road to recovery is by making it very, very, very, very clear. There's no middle ground, there's no negotiating, there's no deal to be had. It is going to simply be accept the help we're offering you. If you're not going to accept that help, you can't stay under the roof of this house and you're going to from that point. You are going to have to make it on your own because the cell phone's getting turned off, there's going to be no money in the bank account. You're not going to continue to have a roof over your head. You've got to accept the help we're offering you, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Steven, you've provided a lot of great tips in this episode. Before we sign off, are there any two to three things you would say just directly to somebody who's dealing with setting boundaries and they're trying to love someone but they're really struggling and maybe they're doing some enabling but they don't know what else to do. What would you say to them? Real quick, two or three things.

Speaker 2:

First and foremost, live in the most vested reality that you can grasp, whatever your version of prayerfully, find your way to the truth. Accept that truth and face it head on and be bold. Secondly, I cannot support you enough. The moms and dads out there, the spouses out there that are hearing this, just jump in and find Alan on. Anywhere around you you will find many, many people with your common plight. You'll realize you're not suffering from terminal uniqueness. There's lots of people going through this and the last thing I can tell them, above and beyond that, is do not enable nor perpetuate the conduct and behavior. Push back against it. Be insistent, set clear boundaries, make no exceptions and realize you are not in it alone.

Speaker 1:

Love it. Great advice, Steven. Thank you so much for everybody who's listening. If you have questions or comments for either me or for Steven, please send them to hello at restoredetoxcenterscom. That's where you can connect with us. Also, you can check out our website. We have a lot of great resources. As I mentioned earlier, we have a great ebook on the website. You can go there, you can download it for free and it will give you a lot of great helpful tips, especially when it comes to limiting beliefs and how to reframe those beliefs and just other tactics that you can use to stop enabling and really start loving people with boundaries. So be sure to check those resources out.

Speaker 2:

Evening. Thank you so much. It's such an imperative and important topic. Everyone be blessed and be safe and realize we are here with you and for you. Thank you so much for tuning in and please know we're here if you need any help at all.

Enabling Addiction
Addressing Shame and Enabling in Parenting