Enabling a drug addict or an alcoholic is a sure fire way to stop them or postpone them from ever getting clean. Many parents and friends that are close to the addict feel that they are helping in some small way. It is this "small" assistance that is keeping them in their current state.
Let's look at an average family. We have mom and dad and the addict and a brother. The addict is 23 years old and lives in his own apartment 15 minutes from the parents. Let's say the addict is about to lose his apartment and his car has been impounded by the police for his latest mishap.
In this situation, the parents often come to the rescue in one fashion or another. And this is certainly not the first time that the family and friends have bailed him out of a trouble spot. Now what do you do? Do you allow him to move back in to the family home? Do you give him food, clothing, bus money or what?
Has doing any of these things in the past ever worked? If so, how long? What good came of it? Did you do these things to help him or to ease your own mind?
Here is where you need to know the behavior of an addict. Does he lie? Does he manipulate? Does he steal? Will he say yes to anything so long as it temporarily gets him out of the current jam that he is in? Once out of the jam, does he bail on his commitment? These are all common actions of addiction and withdraw.
Giving as much as a jar of peanut butter now and then is enabling. Period. If I am an alcoholic and someone buys me peanut butter, that is $4 that I can now spend on alcohol. If you don't see it this way, you need to look at your situation through a different set of eyes. Often family members and friends don't see enabling for what it is because they are living to close to their own lives. Step back, get perspective. React with logic and reason and not emotion.
Certainly you are very emotional about the situation as you should be. What if every firefighter that showed up on seen was crying their eyes out? How effective would they be? They react to a real problem with third party, unbiased views. You should try to do the same. If you are incapable of doing this, you should talk to professionals that can come in and help the family. (Intervention)
So, how to stop enabling a drug addict then becomes more about doing less to help an addict. Unless you are getting them into treatment. Your "help" is hurting them. Period. If you are enabling, stop. Know that you are prolonging as well as supporting the addiction. You stop enabling by stop purchasing things for the addict. No lawyers, no insurance, no food, no rent etc. Never take away love and support. "I will always be here to help you, so long as it has to do with you getting the help that you need. However, I will no longer...".