The Art of Enabling

Enable. Verb; to make possible or easy

The Art of Enabling

One of the toughest things I had to learn when I became a drug and alcohol abuse counselor was how not to enable the clients entrusted to my care.

It was a painful lesson. A lesson that challenged me to look at myself and decide if what I was doing was truly for the good of my client, or was it somehow fulfilling the desire I had to be needed and to be a success.

Though at the time I didn’t think so, I had a great supervisor, I thought she was picking on me, but in reality she taught me many valuable lessons that I applied in my own healing from abortion and carried into my work with others who were suffering. I often say that God, in those days, was preparing me to develop  “Entering Canaan” .  Sometimes what is necessary and good for people in healing is not what we want to do, and things that might make us totally uncomfortable we do anyway for the good of their healing.

I will never forget one young man I had as a client.  It is no secret that when you do counseling, you are naturally drawn to some personalities while other bring out countertransference issues. I was definitely enabling him, until my supervisor called me on the carpet for it, pointing out the many ways I was acting counterproductive to his sobriety. I had to learn that it was crucial for me to remain objective for the good of the treatment of the client, whether I personally liked them or not.

It was not always easy.  But, amazingly, sometimes the clients I had the most aversion to were who I ended up loving the most. A lesson from God for sure.

When people seek healing, whether from drug and alcohol abuse or abortion, or anything else, they can tend cling to those helping them because it is the first time they feel they are being heard, understood, and accepted in spite of their terrible sins.  Accompanying  a person while they heal, however, means helping the person to become whole and independent. It means wanting them to learn what they need for healing and providing the tools so eventually they will not need your accompaniment anymore.

Healing from abortion requires you to take an honest look at your personal abortion experience, learn what your personal abortion connectors are discover ways to deal with them so they do not impact your life. It also requires you to take advantage of those who went before you to learn the tricks of the trade and what worked for them in the hopes that some may work for you as well.  It means turning your life over to God who knows all of your sins and forgives you in the sacrament, and trying, one day at a time, to live life according to His will for you, not someone else’s.

It is easy to become so grateful for someone who seems to understand you after abortion . After all, many of us have been carrying the weight for years, living in hell before we step out for healing.  But, we must be sure that we do not lose ourselves in others because we do not trust ourselves. We must trust God and seek the healing that He has in store for each of us as the individual person He created us to be, and not what others want us to become.

We need to prayerfully consider in what ways He then wants us to reach out, again, not in ways that others may want, because we feel guilty,  or that we need to make up for our abortions, but because it is truly His will.

Through proper help and spiritual direction, life can be good again. Healing does not mean you will forget, but it does mean that you will have His peace and trust in His promises and that you live each day trying to do His will for you by His grace.

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