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Boundaries to Set For Those Struggling with Addiction


Boundaries are important for any kind of relationship you have whether it is between you and a friend, spouse, who you are dating, a professional, or someone with an addiction. These boundaries lay down the ground rules of what is considered to be appropriate behavior and actions. By establishing boundaries between yourself and your loved one facing addiction, you will be able to take care of yourself and establish a clear understanding of your wants and needs and clear communication of your thoughts and feelings.

When It’s Important to Establish Boundaries

The time to establish boundaries with your loved one with addiction is when you are constantly criticizing that person. You keep criticizing them for their bad behavior, but they are still ignoring what you are saying and causing more trouble. It can also be when you keep covering for this person liking lying for them when others ask about their behavior, covering for them at work by calling in sick for them, picking up that person from the bar, or bailing them out of jail.

It can also be when you are taken advantage of or if that person is stealing your money. You have felt like letting it pass because you know that their addiction is not their fault. At the same time, it is your bank account that is being wiped clean. You may also feel like you have to walk on eggshells around this person because they are quick to anger and depression if you say something to antagonize them. To avoid being afraid of your loved one, setting boundaries will show how you feel about their unhealthy behaviors and not letting them get away with it.

What is Allowed Near You and the House

Let your loved one know that if they plan on staying in your home, let them know what is and is not acceptable in your home. If you do not want illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine in your home, let your loved one know about it. If you do not want your loved one to drink in the presence of children, tell them that. You are being nice by letting your loved one stay in your home knowing that they have a problem with drugs. Let that person know that if they do not listen to you, they can find somewhere else to live or will notify the police. This is your home that you are kind enough to accept a guest in. Setting boundaries will give you control over where you live as well as the safety of your children.

Who is Allowed In Your Home

Your loved one may be in recovery but is still inviting their friends who still drink or do drugs. You should not have to put up with the wild parties of people in your house smelling like booze or people shooting up on drugs. You and your children should not have to be a witness to unhealthy behaviors and you should put a stop to it. Let them know that you may not be able to stop your loved one from keeping their friends but that they have no business appearing in your house and substance abusing in front of you and others.

Refusal to Rescue

Many people with addiction end up in jail for either possession of drugs or crimes involving in acquiring drugs like robbery or assault. If your loved one is not getting help, then that increases their chances of many jail visits. Maybe in the past, you have bailed your loved one out more than once and brought them back home. This time, you need to let your loved one know that you are not to bail them out again. That they need to take responsibility for their actions. Your loved one may not want to acknowledge their drug problem, but they should acknowledge the punishments that arise when the law takes notice of your criminal activities.

Refusal to Lend Money

Another way that you could enabling someone’s addiction is lending money whenever they ask such as telling you they are behind on rent, groceries, bills. If they have a drug problem, you know that they are using it to acquire more drugs. You are no longer a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a neighbor, etc. You are instead an enabler, caretaker, or a pleaser. Always giving money whenever your loved one asks is not taking care of them but ignoring their problem. A boundary you can set on them is that you refuse to give them any more money. That if they are in a financial bind, they can seek treatment to fix their thoughts about needing drugs or to get a job of their own to fund their drug habit instead of continuing to come to you. It may seem harsh to refuse when a loved one asks for money, but you are merely doing it to take care of yourself and your own financial assets.

Refusal to Lie or Cover Despite Circumstances

The most important thing you can tell your loved one who is struggling with drug addiction is that you will not lie or cover for them anymore. That your loved one needs to take responsibilities for their own actions. Setting these boundaries will show how much you take that person’s drug addiction seriously and to help them better be aware that they need treatment.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.