E is for Enabler: A-to-Z Challenge

Look, this is going to be a short, my opinions and views, not a psychologist’s definition.  But as I have been in the trenches for 30 years, I have some experience with this.

An enabler is one who undermines the goal to a healthier lifestyle, especially for an addict.


  • I told my mother I was an alcoholic and was fine with her drinking, but did not want to drink, and she consistently offered, “forgetting.”  One does not forget when one’s daughter tells you news like that.
  • You explain to your family that your W DTX 1995 13brother is in detox, and they should mind the rules of sobriety with him — NO non-alcoholic beer (has trace amounts and sets up a psychological ease with beer again), and no offering him a safe haven that includes drinking.  And they ignore and do both, because they think this is no big deal.  It is a HUGE deal.
  • You drink (smoke pot, snort cocaine, etc.) with someone new to sobriety, EVEN IF YOU DON’T OFFER THEM ANY.  Of course, this is hard if you, too are an addict.
  • You look the other way with a KNOWN child-beater / wife beater / etc., when the police should be called.   Instead you go have a beer or glass of wine with mom, dad, husband, wife.
  • You bring cake to a 300 lb diabetic on a diet for their life.

Enabling is creating an environment or situation whereby the other person is supported in screwing up their goals. It is not the same as codependency, though sometimes (not always) the two go hand-in-hand.

In a lighthearted way, I guess it extends to the times when Mitchell or I want to cut back on Elephant’s Apple Pie or Giant Oatmeal Cookies, and the other brings it home. . .   SURPRISE!  and this is EXACTLY  what happened tonight — Carrot Cake from Elephant’s.  Yummo.  For a celebration, several days OFF.  But we make do with these things, as they are minor infractions — our life is not on the line with either.


However, I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or, visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.  My blog posts can be reposted; please link back to zenkatwrites.
All images courtesy D.KatiePowellArt!

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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6 Responses to E is for Enabler: A-to-Z Challenge

  1. Sammy D. says:

    Good post. People do it with food to those who have many digestive problems (me) – “just have a bite, I made this, you gotta try a little” – no matter how many times I tell them it’s one bite that can set the illness in motion. Finally had to cut ties with some great foodie friends because it was just too stressful.

    • zenkatwrites says:

      Yes. Well, I listen to my food gut, and last night when I had one bite of the carrot cake I said, “no.” Mitchell ate his and regretted it. I firmly beleive that our bodies often tell us when this or that is not good for us — swelling, heaviness, etc. The older I get the more I listen — my husband too.

  2. Stopping by on the 5th day of the #atozchallenge while looking for fellow writers. Congratulations on your blog. I know you are going to make new blogging friends this month. I’m writing about gardening and related topics and having a wonderful time. If you have time or interest, come and visit.

  3. susanissima says:

    Well said. Enabling is an issue issue for so many of us and you have the courage to address it. Thanks.

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