As a former enabler, I’ve been trying to break free from the temptation to enable people to continue in destructive decisions. When I see someone making bad decisions, I used to try to “help” them. But by helping, I always cleaned up their consequences. This enables them to continue making poor decisions. I’m talking about adults, not children. With children, we can help make decisions for them. As they grow up, we must let go and let the cards fly, as they say, otherwise parents enable their children to continue making poor choices.
I recently had an epiphany, a spiritual explosion inside, an “aha! moment.” In dealing with a relative who has been destructive to his health by alcoholism, I’m trying to quit being an enabler. It seems that addicts have an undying objective to feel like they are in control of themselves by choosing not to quit. (Even though they are actually out of control.) I was caught up in a chat with him online about his most recent hospitalization and he said rather indignantly, “the doctor says it’s all up to me; nobody can make the decision to quit for me.” So with a dab of sarcasm, I said, “I support your decision.” It made me feel better and he seemed to feel happy about my comment. Any person who continues to make destructive decisions with his own life cannot be free to stop until we stop trying to make him stop. They fight for the right to choose. It’s all about control. If we truly want to help an addict who is not seeking help, enablers should stop trying to make decisions for them and assure them that it’s their right to choose life and death. We must let go just as God has said “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” God also supports our decision to choose salvation by grace or throw it away. He doesn’t make our decisions for us, good or bad.