woman putting her hand up to make boundaries for addicts

4 Boundaries for Addicts

It is incredibly challenging when someone you love and genuinely care about is struggling with an addiction. You want to help them fight it, offering compassion and whatever support they need. But addiction is ugly, and it can drastically change the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of the person you love. That puts a strain on your relationship with them. It’s common to set boundaries for addicts. For example:

  • Your child doesn’t answer the door when you’re not home.
  • Your mother doesn’t open your mail.
  • Your boss doesn’t pry into your personal life.

Not setting boundaries for addicts can lead to chaotic, unbalanced, and unhealthy relationships with your loved ones. Helping a family member, friend, or partner overcome an addiction requires creating even stricter boundaries, so you don’t enable their destructive behavior. Creating boundaries for addicts in the home sets up success when your loved one attends intensive outpatient rehab in Worcester, MA.

Here are four examples of boundaries for addicts that are designed to both discourage addiction and help protect your well-being in your relationship. You should never put yourself in a position where your needs and mental health are compromised. If you want to be in the best possible position to help an addicted loved one, it’s important to prioritize self-care.

4 Examples of Boundaries for Addicts

1. No Drugs or Alcohol in the House

Whatever your loved one’s substance of abuse is, tell them it is not allowed in the house or around you. If their problematic behavior is restricted to specific situations, like drinking alone or around kids, then set rules about when it is and isn’t acceptable to use. It’s important to openly communicate your feelings about your loved one’s drug abuse and how it affects you and your relationship with them. Maintaining control of your home and personal space might not stop your loved one from drinking or abusing drugs, but it’s a crucial first step because:

  • It demonstrates that your feelings about their behavior are serious
  • It keeps you (and other loved ones in your home) safe

Be clear about the consequences if you find a particular drug or associated paraphernalia in the house. For instance, if your addicted loved one breaks the boundaries you both agreed to, you might cut off their privilege to visit or tell them they need to stay somewhere else. Now may be a crucial time for your loved one to attend a substance abuse treatment program in MA.

2. No Drug-Using Friends in the House

Another example of a healthy boundary for addicts is deciding who is and isn’t welcome in your home. Limiting guests can limit drug use in the home. Sometimes an addict living in recovery struggles to break off friendships with people who are still using. Having another addict in the house could enable your loved one’s addiction. It may be unrealistic—or cause tension—to tell your loved one to cut all ties with a good friend because they are using. But creating boundaries for addicts about who is allowed in your house is right for you and your family. It’s vital to keep addiction out of the home.

3. I Won’t Give You Money Anymore

When your addicted loved one asks for money, it’s almost impossible to be sure it’s not going toward their habit. So it’s appropriate to tell them that you won’t give them money anymore. Being asked, begged, guilt-tripped, and manipulated by a loved one for money can be a source of confusion and frustration—and take a toll on your relationship with them. That’s why having boundaries for addicts in place is vital. It will take strength and resolve to say no every time a loved one asks for money, especially if you know they’re struggling financially in other areas of their life. But establishing this boundary and sticking to it is essential. It can help to remember that breaking it could enable their addiction. Refusing money to a loved one is one of the most compassionate things you can do. You want the addiction to end. And this boundary is essential to achieving that.

4. I Won’t Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Substance abuse commonly occurs alongside a mental health condition, which calls for professional dual diagnosis treatment in MA, rather than punishment. This doesn’t mean that an addicted person shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. For instance, if your loved one’s addiction gets them in trouble with the law, this is a consequence of their behavior they need to face. Tell your loved one you will not bail them out or pay for a lawyer if they get arrested, nor will you cover for them if they don’t go to work or fail to meet their commitments.

Once your loved one takes full responsibility for their actions, they will truly understand the risks of addiction. When you take responsibility for an addicted loved one, they have less incentive to stop using. They will stay dependent not only on a substance but on you as well. And this kind of co-dependency is not a practical path to recovery. These examples of boundaries for addicts can allow you to help a loved one battle their addiction without tainting—or ruining—your relationship with them. Be firm when setting healthy boundaries, and remain patient if your loved one challenges the rules. They might react with anger, frustration, and harsh comments. Understand that they are speaking from a place of pain. Blaming or judging them for what they’re going through will only add to their emotional pain.

Addiction in the family is disruptive and heartbreaking. It’s not an easy situation for anyone to deal with, but it helps to know you’re not alone in the struggle. Attending a support group for addiction, like Nar-Anon, is a useful way to speak honestly about your issues with people who are in a similar situation. Seek support whenever you need it, in whatever form you feel is necessary. You shouldn’t feel that you need to sacrifice your well-being in the hopes of saving the addict in your life. It’s an unhealthy and counterproductive strategy. When you show kindness toward yourself during this challenging time, you can respond with calmness and compassion as someone you love deals with the throes of addiction.

Addiction Treatment for a Loved One

When home boundaries for addicts don’t seem like enough, contact the Washburn House for advice and treatment options. You’ll find a range of addiction treatments and therapies for your loved one. Programs and therapies include:

Looking for information about detox and addiction treatment for your loved one? Call us at 855.298.3104 to speak to someone at our Worcester recovery center who can help.

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