What Are the Roles We Play in Addiction?

Addiction is a complex subject that has many layers. Some people assume that the only people who play roles in addiction are individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, the fact of the matter is that many people play roles in addiction.

The Roles That People Play in Addiction

You might be surprised to learn the numerous ways in which people play a role in addiction. In fact, even if you’ve considered yourself as distant from this topic before, you may now learn that you are connected to addiction. Some of the roles that people play when it comes to addiction include the following:

  • individuals suffering from addiction
  • enablers
  • people who intervene
  • observers
  • instigators
  • helpers

Individuals Suffering from Addiction

People who struggle with addictions to substances are at the center of these conversations. It’s important to recognize that addictions can be as varied as the people who have these struggles. Some individuals are addicted to alcohol, and others struggle with drug abuse. Still, other people are combatting addiction to both. People suffering from addiction are the ones in need of support from the larger community.


There are also enablers. An enabler could be a relative who asks a loved one with alcohol addiction to go out to the bar or to come on a wine tour. An enabler could be a person who constantly makes excuses for a friend who uses drugs. An enabler could be a parent who allows a child to continue with detrimental behavior at home because of an addiction. Enablers come in all forms. Some of them do truly care about the person with addiction but do not know how to properly demonstrate support.

People Who Intervene

Some relatives and friends will intervene when a loved one is struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction. These people might stage large-scale interventions where they gather a group together to share their concerns with the addicted individual. Sometimes, people are only temporarily involved. Some individuals may witness a fight in public that stems from an addiction and call the emergency authorities to get involved. No matter to what degree these individuals are stepping in, they are intervening in the drug and alcohol usage.


Other people will see drug and alcohol usage occurring in front of them and say nothing. Observers can also be enablers. For example, a group of friends might notice that one member of the peer circle drinks heavily on a regular basis and abuses drugs. However, these individuals might feel as though it is not their place to comment on the behavior. This group of people is observing and acknowledging that alcohol or drug abuse is happening around them, but they are not taking any steps to stop the behavior.


Some individuals will go beyond enabling and actually push the individual with an addiction to consume more drugs or alcohol. These selfish, cruel people get entertainment from watching someone drink to the point of illness or consume drugs to the point of being in a hallucinogenic state. These people typically do not care about the affected individual in any real way.


The world of addiction can seem dark, but so many helpers exist. Helpers can be people in the addicted individual’s family or friend group who truly try to assist. Counselors, therapists, and staff members at a treatment center are also helpers. Teachers or school administrators might notice a problem and intervene. A person’s primary care physician or therapist could recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse. Many people are helpers. These individuals might have great empathy for others, and they may even have experienced their own battles with drug and alcohol addiction. Individuals who are seeking assistance with their addictions should turn to this system of support.

Enrolling in a treatment program is a great way to be surrounded by the helpers and to get the appropriate assistance. In order to speak with one of the helpers and to start making a plan for your own treatment, call 302-842-2390 today.

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