Heather Fisher Professional Drug & Alcohol Interventionist

Family and Employer Services

Is The Family Part Of The Problem
Or Part Of The Solution?

If you have done everything possible for your loved ones, then why are they still suffering? The answer is that doing everything possible for your loved one is contributing to what is causing them to continue suffering. You may think that doing everything possible provides a sense of control over the situation, but it is a false sense of control. The truth is that the addiction or mental illness is in control, and your actions are allowing it. Just like a slot machine, your loved one calls on you and your pay-off. They don’t have to stop because you make it easy for the addicted person to stay addicted. The longer you make it easy for them, the longer the addiction will continue.

Do you:
  • Give, loan, or pay money for them to use towards their addiction
  • Provide bailout by protecting them from jail and the court system
  • Provide money for legal fees and jail fines
  • Provide a cell phone, making it easier for them to feed their addiction
  • Provide a car, insurance, repairs, and rides, making easy access to their addiction
  • Provide food, allowing for their money to go towards their addiction
  • Provide a place to live, making it safe and easy to use or act out and recover
  • Provide childcare or pet care, making it easy for them to avoid responsibility and mind their addiction
  • Answer calls, engage in arguments, and are there in bad situations
  • Make empty threats, broken promises, and phony follow-throughs
  • Put the needs of the addicted person above everyone else’s needs
  • Reward the addicted person’s bad behavior and neglect everyone else’s good behavior
  • Keep secrets about the addiction and mental illness
Are you:
  • Experiencing low self-esteem
  • Believing that you can control someone else’s addiction or mental illness
  • Overly critical
  • Wearing a mask of perfection
  • Making up for being unreliable or neglectful in the past
  • Overcompensating for other past parenting failures
  • Overcompensating for what was not received in your own childhood
  • Unknowingly passing on emotional pain from the past
  • Ignoring your own needs
  • Needing to be needed
  • Competing to be the better parent
  • Dealing with different parenting styles
  • Looking for a best friend instead of being a parent
  • Mothering your husband or fathering your wife

Addicted people manipulate. Deception is what keeps addiction and mental illness active and alive.

Addicted people are selfish. Not because they want to be, but because addiction and mental illness demand it.

Addicted people lie. Not because they choose to, but because addiction and mental illness require it.

  • They lie.
  • You discover the lie.
  • You confront the lie.
  • They manipulate by turning the table on you with painful digs, put-downs, sarcasm, and criticism.
  • You back down then justify and excuse the bad behavior because “Deep down they are a good person.”
  • Nothing changes.
  • The addiction maintains control and continues to progress.

When you stop reinforcing the addiction, the addiction will change. Take the heart out of it. Think with your head.

  • Develop a different response.
  • Detach physically and emotionally
  • Set rules
  • Set boundaries
  • Set limits
  • Stop supporting financially
  • Establish financial independence if necessary
  • Stop suffering silently (attend support groups, therapy, coaching, and talk with trusted, non-judgmental friends)
  • Stop engaging in arguments (develop emotional distance)
  • Support their success, not their suffering
  • Practice healthy thinking, resilience, and trusting yourself as the fog clears
  • Create a self-care routine
  • Hope for the best but prepare for the worst
  • Set a deadline for others to change and stick with it
  • Have a Plan B if others don’t change

Get in contact now and we can start on your Family Recovery Plan as soon as possible. I would love to help! Call Now (310) 488-7565

“I just want the best for you.”

“I want to be needed.”
“I want to be important.”
“I don’t trust that you can.”
“I don’t believe in you.”
“I want to control you.”
“I want you to be dependent.”

Codependent Screening

Adapted from Friel Codependency Assessment and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days

Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.

Most Common Phrases Addicted People Use To Manipulate

“You’re the only one who thinks that.” (evokes feelings of being wrong, lose certainty)
“It’s your fault.” (evokes blame and victimhood, guilt and shame)
“You make me this way.” (justifying)
 “What do you want from me?” (evokes guilt and shame for being difficult)  
“Sorry, I’m not perfect.” (unauthentic apology and excusing)
“You’re crazy.” (evokes doubt, question conscience)
“You’re overreacting.” (evokes second guessing and instability)
“You are being too sensitive.” (minimizing)
“Are you really willing to throw everything away?” (evokes fear of missing out and regret)
“Is this how you treat someone who does so much for you?” (evokes loyalty)
“You would be nothing without me.” (evokes debt and repayment, feeling locked in)
“What about your issues?” (distraction, deflection)
“No one else would put up with you.” (evokes fear of loss, insecurity and necessity to stay)
“If you really loved me…” (evokes invalidation of feelings and effort to try harder)
“Don’t you trust me?” (evokes desire to be fair, understanding and loss of logic)

Best Responses To Manipulation

“Hmm, I wonder why you think that?”
“You may be right.”
“It’s possible.”
“Could be.”
“You’re entitled to your opinion.”
“Let’s agree to disagree.”
“I can see that you feel strongly about it.”
“What do you plan to do about that?”

Worst Responses To Manipulation

Counter attack
Defend yourself
Give in

Empowering vs. Enabling

The word “enable” actually means to give power to, however, the enabling behavior that causes addiction and mental illness to continue does not give power to getting better. It gives power to getting sicker. It steals power away. It is better described as disabling, disfiguring, and depriving. Visualize Annie hobbling Paul with her sledgehammer in the movie Misery. Supporting the suffering is the exact likeness of involuntary manslaughter whereby a recruited accomplice (family member, friend, or employer) stands around a swimming pool, watching the addicted person drown. As in Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, the accomplice provides rocks for a life preserver. It is loving someone to death. An addicted person cannot stay sick by themselves. They need your help to dig their grave. How are you okay with this?

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Family and Employer Services

Most frequent questions and answers

Healthy family involvement is the most influential and impactful motivator in getting an addicted individual into and keeping them in treatment. Having a support system during the early stages of recovery will help them succeed in long-term sobriety and recovery after treatment. Successful treatment significantly reduces the family’s anger, anxiety, depression, and negative physical symptoms.

There is often a toxic silence surrounding a person who is struggling with addiction. Hidden motives cause unhealthy silence when trusted people are afraid to say something because it will upset the addicted person. 

An addicted individual’s loved ones may hinder the healing process when they have something to gain by enabling or turning a blind eye towards the addicted behavior. Reasons could include enabling someone for their talent or standing, preventing embarrassment, or because they feel a selfish sense of importance by “protecting” the addicted individual. It can often be challenging to face addiction and speak truthfully about it. Still, it is a necessary step in the recovery process.

The family may gain a false sense of control over the addicted person by continually attempting to “fix” them or covering up their issues. It allows the family to avoid their guilt and shame the addicted individual. 

This toxic family dynamic enables the family member to feel better about themselves by focusing on the negatives of the addicted individual. The most common example of this dynamic is giving an addicted person money. The family member feels essential and in control, while the reality is the addiction is in control. 

Enabling an addicted individual can be just as harmful as the drug or alcohol itself. The family is often at the head of the situation, and their behavior strongly affects the addicted person. When the family changes how they react to addictive behavior, everything else can change as well. 

While nagging, pleading, and threatening do not work, small changes like holding boundaries, exhibiting calm, and overall respect produce significant changes in the addicted person’s behavior. It gives them a sense of hope, understanding, and opportunity to re-evaluate. 

It is essential to not give in to the addicted individual and avoid enabling actions, such as giving them money. The family must also be willing to give up alcohol and other drugs and your addictive behaviors. The addicted person reacts most strongly to those close to them. The family is in a position to steer those reactions in a positive direction.  

It is just as vital for an employer to hold an addicted individual accountable for their actions as it is for their loved ones. Employers may often avoid facing an employee’s addiction out of the uncomfortable nature of the conversation or because they deny it is their problem. However, this only further enables someone with a substance abuse issue to continue their behavior. 

Employers may also continue to enable addictive behavior out of fear of losing the employee’s skills in the workplace. This method will only harm both parties down the road, as the addicted individual avoids real consequences and the employer builds an unhealthy workplace environment.

Setting boundaries is an integral part of not enabling addicted individuals and holding them accountable for their actions. Without boundaries, someone suffering from addiction may never have to experience the real consequences of their actions. This method may be more comfortable for both parties in the short-term but has an immense negative impact on their motivation to seek help and long-term sobriety. 

Refusing to set boundaries to “protect” the addicted individual will only hurt everyone in the long run. By giving in to an addicted individual, a family member may often find themselves emotionally and potentially financially drained. It is just as important to protect yourself as it is to help someone with an addiction problem.

The signs of codependency between an addicted individual and their loved ones include difficulty sharing or expressing emotions or thoughts. Someone suffering from codependency may not feel that their opinions matter or want to avoid upsetting anyone. The family may feel an overt need to control or “fix” the individual, often at the cost of the addicted individual and the codependent’s own needs.

Codependents will have difficulty setting any boundaries or holding firm on ones previously set out of fear of upsetting or losing the addicted individual. They will also deny or attempt to hide the problem and are more concerned with maintaining the situation than helping.

Children are born with great potential even when raised in an environment where addiction is present. Children raised in addicted households also make up the number one risk group for developing addiction and other compulsive behaviors. The stress, chaos, and uncertainty caused by addiction affect everyone involved, especially children. 

Children don’t understand trauma, so they believe that it’s their fault, that they are just not good enough, and then set out to “fix” it. When their attempts fail over the years, addiction becomes their way to relieve the emotional pain. Thus, the generational cycle continues.

Call (310) 488-7565

Heather offers one-of-a-kind family and employment coaching that goes far beyond the person who is immediately affected. Addressing addiction and mental illness as a unified group creates understanding and heals damaged relationships. Resentment, frustration, and fear subside, and a deeper, more supportive understanding is facilitated as new limits are reasoned out and a higher level of respect and unconditional love is developed.