Often loved ones of a chemically dependent individual try to protect them from the consequences of their actions. This is known as enabling and is very destructive to the enabler but more-so damaging to the addict. Most enablers don’t even realize they’re causing more harm that good when tying help an addict. Assistance with anything short of finding and getting them into treatment is considered an enabling behavior.
In terms of drug abuse and addiction an individual will not desire change until the problems and pain out weighs any perceived benefits associated with using them. The abuse of addictive drugs and alcohol causes pain and problems; to protect an individual from those troubles only reinforces their ability to continue down that destructive road, and thus, becoming even more addicted. The longer a person goes through life on drugs the harder it is to return to normal drug-free life. Simply put, you do not do an addict any service by assisting them with consequences stemming from their drug or alcohol abusing behaviors. Essentially, you only help them to help themselves dig a deeper hole by enabling.
However, once a person is in recovery and healing there may come a time when that individual needs help that’s fine and is considered supportive. Assistance with maintaining self destructive behavior is not helpful. Also read about the Intervention Process