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Post Info TOPIC: question about enabling - want your experiences


Member

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Posts: 17
Date:
question about enabling - want your experiences


Hello,

I am new to this, having gone to two meetings and three 1x1 therapy appointments. I am ready for a change, ready to break the cycle, etc. 

I know you're not supposed to give me advice, but I am interested in hearing your experiences. 

My person is still actively drinking and absolutely on the verge of no longer being able to afford his apartment/homelessness. He has no where else to go. I am considering giving him a place to live, but conditions/boundaries.

Have you given someone a place to live? Did it work out? Was it enabling?



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 6976
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bzz123 - great questions......I have allowed my sons to come back home with boundaries, rules and conditions. They've never yet been able to live up to what they committed. It has never worked and often ends badly.

My oldest has couch surfed and been able to always find a place to lay his head. He's a charmer, and very manipulative - and is the master of getting his way.

My youngest is much more introverted and stubborn. He has been homeless, in a homeless shelter, lived in a car and a few other places I have never seen so can't classify. He's the only person I know who has been asked to never return to a homeless shelter. He's not capable/willing to conform to the rules of anyone else...

Enabling to me is easily defined as doing for others what they can't do for themselves. I am always amazed that my boys did not have $$ for a meal or a home but they always had $$ for alcohol/drugs....they've worn out their welcome here and they know this. They've never been allowed to be here/live here while active. I do not allow any mind-altering substances in my home for any reason unless it's a special event - I've allowed it twice at family parties in 30 years.

That's my ESH!!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2506
Date:

Hugs Bzz,

Keep going to meetings, get a sponsor and work the steps before making this kind of commitment.

One thing about an addict is they will find a way. It doesn't have to be you. You can love them from afar and still be supportive.

My definition of enabling is if I am doing for someone else what they can do for themselves I am taking away a lesson and possibly their ability to get help on their own. There is grace, dignity and humility (not humiliation) to some of these lessons learning to ask for help and the right kind of help .. that could mean getting help at the salvation army it could be a state funded rehab .. maybe even AA meetings OR it could mean having to wake up and think my God I am on the street and I don't want to be here.

Who am I to say what someone else's bottom is, people really do need to learn their own lessons.

I have the ability to love someone to death and by doing for others what they need to do for themselves. I put a pillow under their butt when sometimes they may need to hit so hard they bounce .. they need to feel the thud.

Keep coming back.

Hugs S :)

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"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay

El


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 277
Date:

Hi bzz123,

I do not have personal experience with this, but have friends who have.  For them, it didn't end well. Their children were eventually told they needed to leave because they didn't stick to their end of the bargain.  They agree to anything in the moment and possibly believe it themselves, but don't or can't follow through.

This is such a tough spot, because we hate to think of someone we care about suffering.  Based on others' experiences, I would be very hesitant.  I also recommend meetings for ESH and support.

Ellen



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Senior Member

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Posts: 242
Date:

From my personal experience, enabling is easy and we did it for our son for many years. He tends to be a binge drinker. The last time we let him come home to live with us, it ended up exactly like the first several times. A period of grace and everybody gets along and then the addiction rears its ugly head and life is terrible for everyone in the house except maybe for the addict.

So we told him that he had to leave and support himself . We would continue to support his wife and son but he was on his own. He left in a huff taking his wife and child with him. And, since then, he has managed to pull himself together, get and keep a job and he appears to be happy. We have no contact with him besides what we see on facebook.

Hardest thing we have ever had to do and it continues to be that way for us. We have had no contact for almost two years now. BUT he has found a life of his own, his child is thriving and he appears to be happy. So that will have to be enough for us right now.

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Bo


Senior Member

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Posts: 316
Date:

I am glad you "keep coming back" and trying to work on yourself. Your post actually triggers several different but related topics for me. First, enabling, when newcomers, and seasoned people go to meetings and hear enabling, the traditional and simple definition is doing something for someone that they could do for themselves. I get that, and often that opens the door to a very slippery slope. Something they could do for themselves? Normally? But they are not able at this point? They are incapable? And so on and so on. While I was often guilty of enabling, I was far more often guilty of a different type of enabling -- contributing, and perpetuating, and playing a role in the ongoing drama, chaos, turmoil, and simply the spiraling out of control of someone else's and my life. Sounds massive, but it's not. In my experience, not enabling and detachment were partners. I had to do both. You are probably torn, and feel in a very tough spot about whether or not to do this. Believe me, I was too, and I begged people to tell me what to do. Finally, my sponsor had to really be there for me and review options for me, and explain the potential consequences of each -- to me and for me. For me to get better, this was all about me.

In my case, the alcoholic was at the point where they couldn't afford their apartment and the rent would not be paid in the coming few days. So, I had to take a long hard look at this. Not analyze and rationalize why, but a long, hard, open and honest look at the present moment. Simply put, and I don't mean to trivialize this, but the alcoholic was where they were because of them, and only them, and their decisions and actions. Period. They of course blamed others, the disease, circumstances, and so on. They had every reason why this happened, and very little of it was about anything they did. Denial. Denial. Denial. Blame. Blame. Blame. Victim. Victim. Victim. Martyr. Martyr. Martyr. I can go on. They were in the moment of experiencing the consequences and results of their own actions and decisions. Period. There were weeks of debates and arguments as to whether or not that was true -- but the fact was, that was the truth. Period. Also, when the rent didn't get paid, they were not going to be homeless. It would be several months of the rent not being paid before they were homeless. Even if it was immediate -- that didn't change the previous fact that this was a result of them. Not me, not anyone else. The closer to homeless the more motivated you become to not be homeless. Watch. That happens. For me, I learned that the alcoholic simply wants me to do what they want me to do. They want what they want and they need others to "partner" with them and be involved, and do for them...so they can keep doing what they do. If that doesn't happen -- then change occurs. Nothing changes if nothing changes...and that's about YOU.

Second, the conditions/boundaries. I hear people in meetings say conditions no, boundaries yes, and if you use those two words interchangeably, then you don't understand the difference. I used to, and I had to learn the difference. I've often said that boundaries are an "advanced" topic in al-anon. With boundaries, you truly need to "check your motives" as to what and why you are doing this. Boundaries are not -- punishment, motivation, prompting, forcing, enticement, a way to force a desired solution or result, or anything of the like. Boundaries are NOT for the other person. They are for YOU. I feel this is one of the most misunderstood tools in al-anon. A boundary is for when an alcoholic does something -- and then we do something. Like this -- when the alcoholic does this, I will do that, or I won't do that. It is not about giving something to someone with strings attached, or conditions, or terms, etc. You can develop a boundary around this type of thing, but it is not conditions. I've heard in meetings, when we give conditions, we are trying to force our will -- directly or indirectly. One can write a book on boundaries, LOL.

So, where does this leave you? Here is my suggestion -- go to as many face to face meetings as you can. Make all of this about YOU. Don't focus on HIM. Don't go to meetings looking for the answer of should I give him a place to live or how do I properly give him a place to live. Go to meetings FOR YOU. Focus on YOU. Find a sponsor, and start doing the work so that YOU can get better. Start at the beginning. Step one -- powerless and acceptance. I -- and no one else -- have no idea whether or not he will get better...but YOU can get better whether he does or not. As they say in the opening of many meetings where I attend...YOU can find contentment, even happiness, whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. When the student is ready to learn...the teacher appears. In my experience, I have found that the teacher was always there. It was just that the student had to be ready to learn...and when that happened...the student finally saw the teacher.

Keep coming back.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



Senior Member

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Posts: 455
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I have let my A live with me, and it did not end very well. Mostly, because he was very argumentative and the police had to come to my house on a couple occasions. That caused my landlord to threatened to evict me and him. We eventually broke up, and he is actually sober now and living on his own. He had an income so it was not really the money that caused him to not have his own place to live. He was just spending more than he should on his alcoholism and not paying his bills. He had to hit his rock bottom before he stopped drinking.

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Sharon 



Senior Member

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Posts: 393
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is your "person" a minor?? related to you and is a minor????  if adult?? WHY put youself into this...lets ask WHY he is facing homelessness if that happens and trust me, when they become homeless, they DO find a way to survive...on the streets or in halfway houses...Even if you were to take him in  (I would NEVER do it) but say you did..You gonna support him??? R you gonna pay his way??? clean up after him??? what if he starts a fire because he is too plastered to be careful when cooking??? what if he steals from you so to buy that next drink??? you think that won't happen???   My alcoholic brother wanted to cme here to TX and stay with me...I said AA for 5 years and be clean that five years and MAYBE....so he moved in with a good friend of ours and he ruined the friendship with his messes, his taking things w/out permission...he cheated "S" out of his share of a job they did together so he could get drunk longer on TWO pay checks.....oh yea when sober?? he is a nice guy but when he wants to get on another binge??? he will steal, cheat, do whatever, sell his soul and teh souls of his friends to get that next vodka and OJ drink ....I would NEVER give a place to live to an active alcoholic...you couldn't pay me by the hour.....and is it enabling??? of course it is...he will take advantage of your kind heart and leave you with financial ruin, maybe stolen property, not to mention a broken and bitter heart because you took him in.....WHY would you want to do that????  trust me!!  They are the best survivors in the world...the alkies and druggies...they can come up with more ways then you adn me to survive....my druggie brother manages to get fed...get high....he always finds a place to crash and sleep in his dirty, not washed for a month clothing that is so crusted his jeans could stand on their own....oh yea, he probably lives better then me in soem ways because the state gives him support $$ and also free medical, food stamps, etc....I have to WORK for my support and PAY my medical and I buy my own food with MY money that I earned working PT to suppliment my SS.....

AND who PUT him in this situation??? You??? I hardly think so..It was him...HE did this to himself...Isn't it kinder to let him reap the consequences and MAYBE get forced into recovery??? isn't it kinder for you to take care of/protect you from the kind of hardship and misery that the alcohlics bring with them when they are actively drinking...do you want to walk on egg shells in your OWN place so as to not "ruffle feathers"???  and believe me you will see the need to set a boundary, MANY boundaries on him...what are you gonna do when he gets angry at those boundaries??? toss them??  put YOUR needs on hold to soothe HIS???   Who wrote his life song???  not you!!!  HE did...So let his song play out and MAYBE if he hits the bottom hard enough, MAYBE that will drive him into recovery....if you and other kind souls hold him over, and above the abyss, he won't think he has a problem....why?? everyone is keeping him afloat so why should he bail out a boat that others are keeping afloat????? 

why buy into trouble???? if you do this , not only will it end badly most likely, but you prevent him from crashing and finding out he's got a real problem...enabling robs them of the lessons they need to hopefully walk a healthier and cleaner path.....enabling never helps...it never is positive for the giver or the taker................you are kind........be kind to you........get into the meetings, work the steps with a sponsor, take care of YOU........YOU need you.............IN SUPPORT



-- Edited by mamalioness on Thursday 3rd of August 2017 12:08:19 PM



-- Edited by mamalioness on Thursday 3rd of August 2017 12:15:31 PM

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 17
Date:

Thanks for your responses everyone.

Bo - thank you for your insight, seriously.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 903
Date:

When I "rescued", my motivation was to be a hero. Did I think I was living in a child's story?

When I knew better, I did better.

Now I know if my action gets between the addict and the consequences of his behavior, I am postponing their motivation to recover. This is very simplistic, but it is my boiled-down understanding of my own behavior.

I now try to treat everyone with respect and to give them the dignity to make their own choices. It is only in hindsight when I still recognize I didn't, but I'm getting better at it.


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Senior Member

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Posts: 393
Date:

hey Jill...awesome post and straight to the point....."if my action gets between the addict and the consequences of his behavior, I am postponing their motivation to recover." I am gonna text that to my brothers enabler.....I swear..If everyone lived by this simple yet effective rule, more addicts would be forced into recovery because pain usually is a good motivator......and yea, I wanted to be the hero too...boy i related to that and my fear they wouldn't love me if I wasn't doing or giving...like I wasn't worth it just being me!!! Thank Creator for recovery...I am way changed and way happier and way less resentful.....LOVED what you said....thanks for being here............

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



Senior Member

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Posts: 180
Date:

i lived with my partner and he went from contributing to our expenses to being chronically unemployed and unable to do so.

at first i thought ok, this is temporary, of course i'll be supportive while he's looking for work. that's what partners do. but then it dragged on and on. and then i learned he was drinking. and i watched him mess up various job opportunities. and at some point it became clear that there was no real end in sight. but he had nowhere to go, and no job, and i could not get myself to make him leave until his behavior became really terrible and i was pushed to my limit. it was a very big push. mind you, i still felt love for him, attachment, and responsibility. and i still struggle with those feelings.

i knew i was enabling by making it too easy for him to live comfortably without working or functioning like a responsible adult. but it was incredibly, horribly, heartbreakingly difficult to make a change. he went into rehab and then a residential rehab facility. and he's facing a very difficult time because i removed myself as a soft place to fall, protecting him from the consequences of his behavior. honestly, it's the most difficult thing i've ever done.

note that you said you're ready for a change and to break the cycle, and your person is active. and then consider the decision again and what kind of change/impact/risk it can bring to your life. i wish you the best. and i'll join the rest in encouraging continued meetings. there's lots of experience and wisdom in the rooms.

 



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Veteran Member

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I live with my alcoholic boyfriend and I wish I'd never taken the step. He owes me thousands in unpaid rent, food, joint purchases etc. My flat is a constant point of tension every day when it's time for him to come home from work. I have no escape. Now I'm moving towards the time when I want him to move out and I know that he will be homeless as a result. In my experience it was a bad bad move and the decision to reverse it is going to be horrendous as well.

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"To change the world, start with one step. However small, first step is hardest of all" Dave Matthews Band

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