Addiction: The Fine Line Between Enabling and Love



Addiction: The Fine Line Between Enabling and Love

  Recently The Addict’s  Mom has been exploring the subject of enabling through its FRRE membership site,, and through its monthly conference call at 605-477-2199 pin 131099# reference #36.  In a recent post at, Barbara Theodosiou the founder began her entry Titled Enabling Is Not Loving with the following,

My child I fixed it when you broke it, I replaced when you lost it, I protected you with my life, I didn’t want you to hurt so I fixed it and fixed it and fixed it. Now who is going to fix you?

Enabling is not love!! Love is fostering independence in yourself and others. I believe that is the single greatest gift you can give anyone …their independence. To read her entire entry please visit the FREE Membership Site.

 This is a very profound cartoon as most parents especially a  mother wants to be able to fix every problem and in her mind believes that she is being a loving mother when in reality she is stunting the emotional growth of her child as the child becomes dependent on the mom and learns how to manipulate the mother, however what happens when mom is no longer available to rescue the child. The harsh reality is that there is a  fine line between enabling and love. It is one thing to give a child a gift or spend quality time with them and show them love it is another to constantly take care of them when they reach the level of adulthood. You can still do nice things for your child however do not condition them to expect it all the time there comes a time to stand firm and allow your child to do things for themselves.

Jeffrey Pope Jeffrey Pope, a recent guest on The Addict’s Mom Round Table had this to say about enabling.

Jeffrey Popes thoughts on Enabling…

We believe no enabling no addiction.

The difference between helping and enabling is simple.

Helping is doing for someone something they can’t do for themselves

Enabling is doing something for someone who  should be doing for themselves.

Very simple but so hard to see the difference.

 Addiction: Distinguishing Between Enabling and Love

As Jeff stated it is very hard to  distinguish between enabling and love.  One suggestion Jeff made during The Addict’s Mom Roundtable was to let go and stand by your decision and once you cut off the communication the only question you ask the addict when they call is, are calling about getting into treatment, if their answer is no you say I love but until you are calling about treatment I will not talk to you. The addict has learned what buttons to push and if you continue to let them manipulate those buttons you will continue to be part of the problem not the solution. This sounds harsh, however you are not doing the addict any favors by continuing to rescue them.

 Many times letting go is the most difficult thing you can do yet it is the most loving thing you can do. I have seen the successes of those who have let go of their addict and started to live for themselves removing any guilt and judgement from the situation.I have seen the worse case scenario where the addict died. The key to both situations is to not blame yourself and realize you did the best you could with the tools you had.

Addiction: People to Help You Draw The Line Between Enabling and Love

Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC, Family Recovery Coach, helps family members of addicts turn their chaos to sanity, through her Be A Loving Mirror Family Recovery Coaching Program.  She also helps people in recovery find their life purpose through her Life Purpose in Recovery program, works with coaching students as a faculty member of Crossroads Recovery Coaching School, is a mentor coach for The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and mentors coaches in her private practice.

Author of the forthcoming book Be A Loving Mirror: Reflect Reality and Transform Your Life, Coach Bev is internationally recognized as a Professional Certified Coach by the ICF (International Coach Federation) and is also a Certified True Purpose Coach. A former teacher and school principal, Bev works with her clients individually and in groups, in person and on the phone. You can learn more about her work on her website at or by reading her In The Rooms Family Recovery Blog at

David Essel, M.S. is an Author (6), National Radio and Television Host, Master Life and Business Coach, Adjunct Professor, All Faiths Minister, Addiction Recovery Coach and International Speaker. His mission is to inspire others to reach their own exceptional potential in their business and personal life.
His radio show, the only purely positive radio show in the USA, “David Essel Alive!”, is heard on XM Satellite Radio, Channel 168, and streaming live on the web at, every Saturday from 6-9pm EST.
David’s professional presentations on how to lead a passionate and inspiring life have drawn rave reviews from corporations such as Chico’s, Nestlé, and Boeing, media outlets such as FOX and Premiere Radio, as well as non-profit organization like the March of Dimes and Unity Church.

  • David’s fourth book and CD program is entitled Slow Down: The Fastest Way to Get Everything You Want (Hay House Publishing).
  • Businessperson of the Year Award — The IDEA Association
  • The Master of Motivation — American Fitness Magazine
  • Highest Rated Speaker in the History of Our Convention — International Exhibitors Association
  • Mr. Motivation — Lifetime Television Network
  • Author of six books, his latest, “Rock Star: Finding God’s Purpose for Your Life.”
  • All Faiths Pastor, Former Co-founder Church of Spiritual Light
“David Essel's destiny is to help you become more alive in every area of your life.”  ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
 Tim Roberto of The Florida House. The Florida House Experience offers a unique alternative to traditional drug rehabilitation centers in Florida and other 28-day treatment models that have proven less successful in the treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism. 
We recognize addiction is a disease that requires stable, long-term rehabilitation often involving exploring various components of the disease 
with a special emphasis on the family system. Recovery consists of multiple phases, including safe and medically monitored detox, 
a gradual transition to lower levels of drug rehab care, and ultimately sober living.
Websitehttp://www.floridahouseexperience.com505 South Federal Hwy, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
Founded2000AboutDrug and Alcohol Treatment FacilityAwardsNAATP, CARF and member of BBBProductsInpatient Drug and Alcohol 
Treatment Facility.

Addiction: Thoughts on The Fine Line Between Enabling and Love

There are many thoughts about enabling versus loving and the key to remember is that there is a fine line between enabling and love.

I chose to close with this song by Mandisa today because when you distinguish between enabling and love you will find a sense a freedom.




  1. jodi fischer says:

    Thank you….mother of a drug addict

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