An enabler is a person who deals with the negative effects of an addict's behavior by shielding them from the consequences of their behavior. Not dealing with or learning from the negative behaviors can cause addicts to continue their behavior unchecked and possibly worsen their conditions over time. Dysfunctional relationships and family problems can occur. The enabler will take on responsibilities and roles of the addict. This is not only stressful to the enabler (and their family too) but the addict begins to rely on the enabler to do these things for them. The addict will become angry if the enabler stops doing these things for them.

Examples of enabling include giving money to an addict (like a gambler or drug user) to cover their financial transgressions, repeatedly cleaning up after them when they destroy property while on drugs or alcohol, and constantly bailing them out of jail. Enablers commonly lie to family, friends, and coworkers to 'cover' for the addict.

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