You might have heard the common myth that setting boundaries weaken the relationship. That is because it builds walls around the people we love and is a way to push them away from us. However, the truth is, healthy boundaries are the best way for a successful relationship.
Setting boundaries is critical for any relationship. However, it becomes even more essential if the person you love is an addict. It is because addiction changes people significantly. A relationship with an addict with no enforcement of healthy boundaries can soon become toxic because addicts only prioritize their substance of choice. In this manner, you can also clear the blurry lines in your relationship of whether you wish to support them in recovery or become codependent.
Effective ways to set boundaries
Seeing your loved one destroying their life because of addiction is itself hurting. As a result, you might feel slightly reluctant to set strict boundaries for them in your house or your relationship. However, doing so is a viable and effective way to stop enabling destructive behavior and protect yourself and others. So, if you wish to help your loved ones recover from their addiction, your first step is to stop enabling them. You can achieve this goal by setting healthy boundaries. Only then would they consider the initiative to seek professional help. And if you’re indecisive about which treatment center to approach, don’t stress too much. We suggest you consult with The Palm Beach Institute that offers various treatment plans customized to the individual needs of the addict. The best part is they recognize the root cause of the addiction and provide optimal quality services to the patients and families.
While setting boundaries might seem a bit harsh step at your end, your loved one’s recovery process highly depends on what role you play. Thus, ensure to set appropriate rules and limits in your relationship to help them get sober. Be mindful; there is no universal approach on how to set boundaries. Each home and relationship vary from one another and thus must have its particular course.
Nonetheless, below are some standard rules that have proven to be helpful when dealing with an addict:
No drug or alcohol consumption in the house
One crucial example of setting boundaries is not allowing the addict to indulge in drugs or alcohol within the house premises. Keep in mind; some addicts have problematic behavior. For instance, they like to consume their choice of substance either alone, in the presence of a kid, or like to consume in some other particular situations. So, if you don’t want your kids watching their addiction practices, set strict boundaries that they must not take the substance in your house.
You can also strictly communicate what the consequences will be if they ever overstep your boundaries. It could include notifying the police or not letting them in your house. In this manner, you are making a safe space for yourself and other family members.
No room for drug-addict friends
So you have put a stop to drug or alcohol usage at home. Sure, they might listen to you and also be ready to seek proper treatment for their recovery. But, have you ever thought about their friends? Friends of an addict also play a crucial role in enabling their addictive behavior. Moreover, just because your loved one has decided to stop using their substance does not necessarily mean their friends also avoid them.
Therefore, ensure not to welcome friends who also have a drug and alcohol addiction habit. After all, you don’t want to put up with someone unrelated to you having addiction problems in your home.
Do not accept derogatory behavior
Let’s be honest; no one has the right to disrespect you or your values and put you down. So even if your loved one is a drug addict, they must know their limits. Thus, determine the behavior of the addict in your house. Are they habitual of screaming or insulting you whenever they are high? Do they choose to use abusive language at your place under the influence of substance? Or worse, do they get violent when something doesn’t go as per their wish?
You must not be sacrificing your mental health and safety and, therefore, maintain the peace of your house by setting boundaries. After all, your love and care do not give them the privilege to degrade or insult you.
Be responsible for your actions
Undeniably, addiction is a deteriorating brain disorder. But, that doesn’t mean addicts should not be held accountable for their actions. Many drug addicts have the habit of asking their friends or family members to lie for them or share half-truths to save them. For instance, your loved one with addiction problems might ask you to make up an excuse when they couldn’t make up to their class. Or chances are they ask you to lie about missing office or any other plans.
Keep in mind; doing so is a way to enable their addiction habits. Thus, ensure to communicate to your loved ones that you won’t cover up for them, even when they have to face severe consequences to their actions. In this way, you can help them act responsibly and avoid any lies, chaos, and confusion in your life.
Limit financial help
One of the most critical boundaries you need to set with an addict is to tell them you will not be lending them any money. Most of the time, the money an addict asks for is for their addiction urges. So if you give them money, you are enabling them. Therefore, ensure to let them know you would not be available for their financial support anymore.
Quite possibly, they might be experiencing financial crises in other aspects of their lives, such as paying for bills or other necessities. Therefore, establishing this boundary can help them with money management strategies. Moreover, communicate with them that you would not be bailing them out from prison if anything goes south.
It is no wonder that living and dealing with an addict can be challenging. It can become even more complicated when their cravings for drugs or alcohol seem acceptable to them. Therefore, setting healthy boundaries can allow you to have a safe and productive relationship. However, your set of rules must not be too rigid or too lenient. A pro tip is to ensure not to set boundaries in the heat of the moment. That way, chances are you will have some unrealistic demands, and it would turn out to be meaningless. Moreover, don’t forget to stay committed and consistent with your boundaries.