Enabling Is How You Love

July 14, 2023
A text post that reads, "Their path is not my path. My path is not theirs."

I know you’re going through it. We’re all going through it. “It” may be different for each of us, but we’re all trying to find our way.

Here at Tipping Point, finding our way means finding our own path, which is separate from our loved one’s path.

Their path is not my path.
My path is not theirs.

But how do you differentiate those two things? Where do you end? Where do they begin? It’s nuanced. And it can be especially tricky to figure out when you’re coming from a place of fear, anger, hurt or confusion.

Let’s talk about the word enabling for a minute. It has so much shame associated with it, like it’s this awful thing, and we all feel such guilt for doing it, but we also struggle to stop.

I’d like to shift the way we think about enabling. I even invite you to use a different word for it. The word I choose to use is love.

Enabling is how we love.

It’s how we were taught to love, how we were taught to care for another person. And in most cases besides addiction, those very same behaviors likely wouldn’t be seen as enabling.

I want you to have compassion and understanding for yourself, because these enabling behaviors are your coping strategies. Just like alcohol is a coping strategy for your loved one who is seeking relief, it is your way of trying to manage an unmanageable situation, and we don’t need to feel shame about that.

So when you catch yourself thinking, “I’ve enabled these behaviors,” say instead, “I’ve loved these behaviors.”

“I’ve loved my loved one.”

And then allow yourself to explore a new way to love moving forward. One that is healthy for you and your loved one. One that is grounded in recovery.

That’s what I teach people how to do every single day.

We’re always going to be going through “it” in some way. We’re human. If our loved ones all got sober forever, never to use again, other things would still happen. That’s life. And the tools and practices you learn at Tipping Point Recovery are helpful in all life’s challenges.

It hit me a few years ago that that’s what we’re doing here at Tipping Point Recovery: we’re learning how to be okay (and even thrive) despite what’s going on around us. To understand where our power lies and recognize it in helpless situations. To recognize when our coping mechanisms are no longer helping us and so we can do things differently.

That’s recovery.

Recovery is not a destination. It’s not a “get fixed forever and feel good all the time and never struggle” thing. It’s a lifelong journey. It’s using your tools. It’s showing up and listening. It’s getting out of the way. It’s being honest with yourself, and being honest with others. It’s learning to trust yourself and knowing how and when to ask for help. It’s giving yourself grace to make a mistake and try again.

And no matter who you are or what you’re going through, you can be in recovery. You don’t even have to know what you’re in recovery from. Maybe it’s from drugs and alcohol addiction, maybe it’s from trying to control other people, maybe it’s from feeling like you have to be perfect.

None of it is wrong.

We’re here getting better together. We’re here finding the parts of ourselves that we’ve lost.

If you’d like to help in doing just that, check out our 12-week Addiction Recovery Program, Recover My Family. We start July 26th, and we’d love to have you.

Or if you haven’t already, join us in our free Facebook community, Friends of Tipping Point—A Hub for Recovery Conversations. It’s a great place to get started.

I’d love to know: how do you get grounded? What does recovery mean to you? Comment below your thoughts on everything I’ve shared.

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