Enabling or Empowering? – Episode 261

How have you enabled your loved ones’ alcoholism? What is enabling, anyway? How do you know when you’re doing it and when you are empowering them, instead?

  • What does the dictionary say?
  • Merriam-Webster
    • 1 a : to provide with the means or opportunity: training that enables people to earn a living
    • b : to make possible, practical, or easy: a deal that would enable passage of a new law
    • c : to cause to operate: software that enables the keyboard
    • 2 : to give legal power, capacity, or sanction to: a law enabling admission of a state
  • From Urban Dictionary
    • Enabling
      Shielding a person from the consequences of a destructive behavior; Allowing a person's destructive behavior to persist by managing or minimizing the ill-effects of the behavior.”Enabling” vs. “Empowering”Enabling: supporting a person's behavior that (repeatedly/habitually) instigates a negative or destructive resultEmpowering: supporting a person's ability or effort in a positive or progressive endeavorEnabling can be as destructive as the behavior itself . . . a person enabling a destructive behavior is motivated by their need to do so and is gratified by reinforcing their superiority or control over that person; An “enabler” holds a person in an inferior state by denying them the motivation to change and therefore, the opportunity to grow.
  • What does enabling mean to you?  How does that relate to the definitions we just read?
  • Did you understand/head you heard of enabling before you came to Al-Anon?
  • What are some ways in which you have enabled others' dysfunction/addiction/behavior?
  • How can we (especially as parents) distinguish between supporting, helping, empowering, and enabling?
    • Can we look at our motivations, expectations, fears?
    • Slogans
      • Let Go and Let God
      • How Important is it?
      • WAIT
      • THINK
    • Boundaries
    • Detaching with love
    • Clarity: “mine or not mine?”
    • “When in doubt, don’t”
    • Serenity prayer (knowing the difference)
    • “Al-Anon pause”
  • What are healthy ways to be supportive without enabling?

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