Am I Enabling or Empowering?

One of the topics that often comes up in the world of recovery is the topic of enabling. This is a common issue for those close to anyone with an addiction. Often times it’s hard to see the difference between whether we are helping or harming those we care about.

Enable is defined as: give authority, to allow, to permit, to make it easy.

I want you to think about this. When you enable, you shield your loved ones of the consequences of poor choices. Stephanie, who is currently serving as our receptionist, recently shared her story about this.

She said, “My parents compromised with me, agreeing with me that using in the house was okay because it was only marijuana.  That little compromise my parents made with me enabled me to take it and run with it.”

One of the topics that often comes up in the world of recovery is the topic of enabling. This is a common issue for those close to anyone with an addiction.

Often times it’s hard to see the difference between whether we are helping or harming those we care about.

Enable is defined as: give authority, to allow, to permit, to make it easy.

I want you to think about this. When you enable, you shield your loved ones of the consequences of poor choices. Stephanie, who is currently serving as our receptionist, recently shared her story about this.

She said, “My parents compromised with me, agreeing with me that using in the house was okay because it was only marijuana.  That little compromise my parents made with me enabled me to take it and run with it.”

Again, look at our definition here; enable is to allow, to permit, to make it easy. You have to be careful that you’re not making it easy for your loved ones to make poor choices that will lead to their destruction. They say love covers a multitude of sins; and taken out of context it is easy equate our enabling to loving someone and there is an attempt to cover up and fix the sins.

But in context we understand that this job of covering sins belongs to Jesus. When you truly release your loved one into the hands of God you will empower them to right living.

It’s important that we take a look at the word Empower as a stark contrast to enabling.

Empower:  To equip, to authorize, to invest with power

Empowering is giving someone the confidence they need to do something. This is not doing something for them but helping them to increase control over their own life. This is calling them to accountability for their actions. Empowerment also speaks to a reality of self-awareness.

Look at some successful people around you and even areas where you have succeeded in your own life. People that make progress are able to be aware of their own issues and have to face them and own them. You and I do every day when we make a mistake or an error. Our actions toward our loved ones must encourage them to be able to examine themselves and realize there is a problem.

Until they recognize there’s an issue none of our efforts will help.

Make a decision today to empower them to change. It’s often said that “Until our Pain Exceeds our Fear of Change we Rarely Will Change.”

Enabling shields from the pain that can motivate genuine change!