Watching someone you love fall to addiction is disheartening.
You want to help, but likely you do not know the right way to do so. In the past, you may have been overly supportive, but now it may be time to change your approach.
Why Creating Boundaries for an Addict is ImportantSetting boundaries for an addict is an important first step to helping them get sober. Without boundaries, you may be making their addiction worse because they never have to experience the full consequences of their substance abuse. This type of behavior is known as enabling, and while it may seem like you are being supportive, it can perpetuate a person’s addiction.
Not only is enabling an addict hurting them, but also it is hurting you. Many enablers continue to put their addicted loved one’s needs above their own. With time, this can be draining and lead to a drastic decline in your own mental health.
Some examples of establishing boundaries with a drug addict may include:
- Not allowing them to use drugs or drink in front of you
- Prohibiting drugs or drug paraphernalia in your home
- No longer driving them around if their license was suspended for a DWI
- Not covering for them
- Not lending them money
- Making them pay rent
- No long ignoring their bad behavior
How to Set Boundaries for a Drug AddictSetting boundaries for an addict may be challenging at first. Especially if you have been enabling their addiction for several years, it can be hard to change your ways overnight. Just remember that you are doing this for their own good.
Explain the ConsequencesBoundaries are nothing without consequences. When you talk to them about your expectations be sure to also go over the consequences for breaking these rules. If they do not pay rent, explain that they will be kicked out. If they are found with drugs in your house, tell them that they will not be invited back. Going over these consequences can let your addicted loved one know that you are serious.
Follow ThroughThe most important part of setting boundaries for an addict is following though. Boundaries are nothing but empty threats if you do not back them up. If the addict continues to get away with their bad behavior without any consequences, they will never stop. Many addicts who eventually go to a treatment rehab center for help and get sober do so because they no longer want to carry the weight of the negative consequences associated with their addiction.
Think About the End GoalWhile kicking out your addicted loved one or not bailing them out of jail may seem harsh, you need to remember why you are setting these boundaries. If you continue to enable their addiction and have zero boundaries, they will never get sober. Why would they ever stop if they never have to face the consequences? When you are feeling weak or like you may cave, remember your end goal. You want them to get into a detox program and eventually get clean. In order to get to this point, you need to set boundaries.
If someone you love has a substance abuse problem, it may be time to get professional help. With addiction intervention services and an abundance of different programs to fit your loved one’s needs, we are there to help both of you every step of the way.