Setting Boundaries With Someone Dealing With Addiction
Whenever a loved one is dealing with a drug addiction, it can be tempting to wrap them up as closely as possible in order to help them through it. Though that might seem like the most loving thing possible, it could end up causing more damage than it helped and may even take someone else down in the process. drug
Boundaries are important because they allow a loved one and the addict to look at the addiction objectively, not resorting to personal attacks or guilt-trips to see them through it. If a loved one has found themselves bringing up past transgressions or even covering for their behavior at times, they need to set up boundaries in order to reinforce their stance on the problem. Failure to do so could result in a compromising attitude towards the behavior.
In order to successfully help a loved one through their addiction, boundaries need to be set up. Here are a few to consider:
1. No Addictive Behavior in the House
It needs to be very clear what the person’s stance on drug or alcohol use inside the house at all times. If a person doesn’t want drugs anywhere in their house (and they shouldn’t), they need to let the addict know very clearly that the first time they find any kind of illegal drug material inside the house, they will report them to the authorities and the addict will be sent to jail or a rehab facility. This especially applies with people who suffer from alcoholism; since it’s not an illegal drug, it’s easier to obtain and easier to get inside the house.
2. No Bad Influences In the House
If a loved one has a group of friends that they drink or do drugs with, let them know that none of them are welcome in the house – ever – for any reason whatsoever. The last thing a loved one wants is their destructive behavior brought into a home where it can influence someone’s family more directly.
3. Refusal to Bail Out of Jail
If an addict is caught with drugs or alcohol and the user is sent to jail, the loved one needs to be clear about the fact that they will not come and bail them out of prison. This creates a sense of responsibility within the addict: it was their decision and they must now pay for the consequences of that decision. This also reinforces – especially if the addict is a teenager or dependent – that there are adult consequences for their actions. They must conform to the standards of behavior or a rehab or detox program is in their immediate future.
4. Cut Them Off Financially
Many addicts resort to stealing or borrowing money from friends or family members to pay for drugs. Though they may claim it’s for food or gas if a family member knows that it will do nothing more than fuel the addiction, they have to be willing to cut them off, even if it means dire consequences. This will not only hopefully help them realize that they can’t afford their addiction any longer, but it will also protect the loved one and their family from financial ruin.
5. Refusal to Lie
There’s not much worse than watching a loved one struggle with drug abuse or alcoholism. Not only is it hard to watch someone struggle, but it can also be embarrassing for the family that has to cover for them constantly. One of the best boundaries that they can set is to directly tell the addict that they won’t lie or cover for their actions anymore. Insist that their actions will now be on them to explain and force them to take ownership of their behavior. Dependencies like drugs and alcohol don’t get any better when they have people covering for them; in fact, it just fuels the addiction even greater in a web of chaos and disruption.
6. Refusal to Change Schedule
This can apply to a myriad of different areas, but a loved one needs to set boundaries pertaining to their own life and timeline. If an addict is supposed to be on time for dinner and they fail to appear, they’re not welcome. If a kid’s soccer game starts promptly at 4 and they are not there, they’re not welcome. Refusal to change a schedule to accommodate an addict’s behavior is a great step towards waking them up to a realization of their actions and can give a loved one peace of mind that their life can continue as planned.Setting boundaries is not about punishing the addict as much as it is protecting the ones who are most affected by it. Ideally, the addict will realize their behavior and check themselves into some kind of detox program in order to get clean, but until then, the best thing a loved one can do is leave them to carry the load of their behavior by themselves.
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