Being a leader at Renewal and Transitional Housing, I have learned a lot about helping others. I have a tendency to try to “rescue” and make “everything better” for someone else. Enabling and co-dependency are two forms of “helping others” that are not healthy. Although we are to love others, Matthew 22:36-39 and carry each other’s burdens, we have to use discernment in these situations and determine if what we are doing is really helping the other person. Setting boundaries with people who have unhealthy behaviors, is always best for them and for you.
There are many forms of enabling, but for an addict, it can help pave the way and give them the resources to continue down the wrong path. It also prevents them from suffering the consequences of their actions, thus never giving them a reason to change. Although they may have the desire to change, it is often the brokenness that prompts them to make the necessary steps to change.
A co-dependent person has a habit of ignoring their own responsibilities in order to help someone else with theirs. The co-dependent person is taking on someone else’s responsibilities when the dependent person needs to do it for themselves.