The role we play in addiction may be different from the roles of other people. This is because, by nature, addicts are deceiving and manipulative. We do not become addicted as a result of our own nature. Rather we have been socialized into these distorted behaviors that allow an addiction to grow and flourish inside us like a weed. This means it’s up to us to clean up the messes we made when we were ignorant and uneducated about addiction so that others don’t have to suffer like we did. In this piece, we will discuss the role we play in addiction.
Roles We Play in Addiction
The enabler is a role that we play when the victim of addiction knows they are an addict, but they allow the addiction to continue and grow while trying to keep the addict happy. We all know people like this. They may be addicts themselves. They may have family members or friends who are addicts. In many cases, these individuals are not aware that they’re enabling their loved one’s addiction. This is because addicts are experts at manipulation. An addict may beg for money, food, or a place to stay. They may promise to change or threaten to hurt or kill themselves if the enabler refuses the request. All of these actions put the enabler in a position where they feel like they have no choice but to comply with these requests. But it’s not about them having no choice at all! It’s about them choosing their own comfort over the good of their loved ones.
The rescuer is similar to the enabler in that the rescuer is enabling a person to use drugs or alcohol. However, unlike the enabler, the rescuer has a genuine love for their loved one, and they want to help them change. This is why most people who are alcoholics or drug addicts end up becoming friends with their sponsor at some point in recovery. The addict knows that if they are not getting better, no one else can help them. They must be willing to help themselves.
The supporter is a role that we play when we feel sorry for the addict’s supposed suffering. When a person has admitted that they are an addict and are ready to get better, why do we feel the need to say something like: “I totally understand what you’re going through. I used to feel hopeless for hours. I thought about killing myself all the time.”
The enforcer is a role we play when we are worried about the addict’s safety. We may tell our loved ones that they cannot spend time with certain people because they may influence them to drink or use drugs. Or, if they do, we will punish them in some way. The enforcer is also someone who will not take no for an answer! They’ll just keep nagging at the addict until they do what they’re told. This can create resentment or anger and eventually cause a rift in their relationship.
This is a role we play in addiction when we lie to protect or save the addict from something they do not wish to face. When an addict threatens suicide, many of us would rather lie and say they are doing okay than to risk them trying it again and actually succeeding. Or we may feel that if we don’t tell someone about their loved one’s addiction, then it doesn’t exist. However, the truth always finds a way to come out.
The Rescuer by Proxy
This is another role we play in addiction when we take care of an addict’s responsibilities so they can drink or use drugs with no consequences. This can involve doing things like taking care of their children while they’re drinking or using drugs or cleaning up messes they’ve made while they were intoxicated. This can be one of the most difficult roles to play in addiction. There is a fine line between helping and enabling, and when people cross that line, they can lose everything they have fought so hard to get.
The mentor/coach is a role we play when we help educate and guide our loved ones in overcoming addiction. We may do this by private counseling or showing up at meetings with them to support them in their recovery. If you are someone who has ever considered quitting addiction, consider hiring a counselor for yourself as well to help you through it! Your life depends on it. In conclusion, the roles we play in addiction can sometimes be a good thing. They can help our loved ones see the light and help them to clean up their lives and change for the better.
However, there are some roles that we play that can cause great harm and damage over time. Some of these roles, like the enabler or enforcer, actually necessitate so much negative karma on our part that it will make all of our positive efforts null and void. For more help and support on how to quit smoking or alcohol, contact us on 302-842-2390.