Setting Boundaries When a Loved One is Dealing With Addiction

loved one is dealing with addiction

It can be hard to set boundaries with an addict, especially if you live in the same house, or they are close to you. When one is dealing with an addiction, they will often lie, steal things, ridicule, or abuse you. Therefore, it is important to set healthy boundaries to protect yourself and ensure you do not enable destructive behavior. The less you enable an addict, the more inclined they will be to get help. However, the conversation on boundaries does not have to be a hard one. Here are a few tips to help you hold that conversation.

Inform Them They Cannot Use or Drink Around You

Inform the person they cannot drink or use substances where you, your children, or their siblings are. Let them know you would love to spend time with them but not when they are under the influence of a substance. Also, inform them you will not be allowing any substances or alcohol in your home. This should be accompanied by consequences if they violate any of the rules. For instance, if you find them drinking, will they have to move out? Or if you find heroin in their room, will you call the police? As much as you love them, advises that you need to protect the space around you and that of your other family members.

Let Them Know Their Friends Using Drugs or Drinking are Also Not Allowed in the House

Your loved one may have stopped using drugs, but maybe their friends have yet to. Therefore, to continue protecting your space, tell your loved ones that their friends under the influence of substances will not be welcomed in the house. This boundary protects them as you are reducing the chances of them having a relapse.

If They are Arrested for Drug Abuse, Let Them Know You Will Not Bail Them Out

At times, a person has to face the consequences of their actions if they are to start taking responsibility. As much as addiction is a disease, at some point, your loved one will have to take responsibility for their actions. This boundary lets them know that they are old enough to do just that. If they have been arrested a few times for the same issue, and you are constantly bailing them out, subconsciously, you are enabling their behavior. However, if your loved one is ready to undergo treatment and recovery, you can bail them out.

Inform Them You Will Not Allow any Insults or Ridicules

If they are constantly ridiculing or insulting you, inform them you will not put up with that behavior anymore. This ensures you do not sacrifice your dignity for the sake of keeping ‘peace’ in the house. Self-respect and integrity are essential, and you have to redefine language and behavior that is acceptable in the house. Even if someone is dealing with an addiction, they still need to be decent and respect others.

Refuse to Lend Them Money

Even if your loved ones say they want the money for basic house utilities, do not give them the cash. Almost all addicts will spend that money on buying drugs or alcohol rather than paying those house bills. Do not allow addiction to make you a pleaser, scapegoat, or doormat. By telling them you can no longer support them financially, you protect your mental health and finances. Also, in one way or another, you are helping curb their addiction.

One of the biggest challenges, when your loved one is an addict, is finding ways to support them without neglecting your mental health. That is why boundaries are so important, because they guide you and your loved one on lines that cannot be crossed.


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