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Enabling behavior

An enabling behavior is an action by a loved one that allows a person with substance use disorder to keep drinking or using drugs without facing the consequences.

Enabling might include making excuses, calling in sick, or paying legal fees for the person. These actions often can keep the person with substance use disorder from realizing or admitting that he or she has a problem.

Family members, partners, or friends who act this way are sometimes called "codependent."