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How to Set Boundaries With an Addicted Loved One

When you think of boundaries, you might imagine physical fences or walls. But boundaries can also mean staying true to yourself and honoring your own needs in a relationship with another person. Having good boundaries with your loved ones means having healthy emotional separation from them. 

When you have poor boundaries in a relationship, it can mean forgetting to take care of your own needs and focusing only on what the other person wants or needs. A relationship with no boundaries can leave you feeling emotionally drained and taken for granted. It may feel like you have no personal time, no freedom to make your own choices, and like you need to walk on eggshells to avoid conflict at all costs.

For some people, setting boundaries in any relationship can feel hard. It can be even more challenging in a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

Learning how to successfully set boundaries with an addict you love can be crucial to preserving your sense of identity and safety, and it can be a powerful motivator for the addict to start addiction treatment.

If you or a loved one needs support during addiction or recovery, you are not alone. Reach out to the staff at the Mandala Healing Center for information about our holistic addiction treatment program in West Palm Beach.

Signs You Need to Set Boundaries With an Addict You Love

Relationships between two people can be complex. Over time, people tend to fall into predictable roles or patterns within a relationship. This is true in relationships with addicts. Some of the signs you need to set boundaries with an addict include:

  • You tell them how to manage their life
  • You have big, strong emotions about their decisions and actions
  • You are critical of them
  • You give them ultimatums or threaten them with consequences
  • They take advantage of you–stealing from you, lying to you, always asking for more of your time and energy
  • You feel anxious or like you are walking on eggshells around them
  • You work hard to avoid any kind of conflict with them
  • You cover for them or engage in other enabling behaviors

Without good boundaries, a relationship can feel very lopsided and draining. If you recognize any of these signs, you might benefit from learning how to set healthy relationship boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries With an Addicted Loved One

First, you need to take good care of yourself. Eat nutritious meals, incorporate rest and leisure into your daily routine, and make time for exercise. Most importantly, get support for yourself. This can include individual therapy, support groups, or simply reaching out to friends and family members who can help. When you take care of your body and mind, you are better able to make good decisions and care for others. 

When setting boundaries, you must first decide what you do and do not want. Think about what you need. Make a list of things you will and will not do. Some examples of boundaries you may set with an addict include:

  • No drugs or alcohol in the house
  • Friends who are using cannot come into the house or be around you
  • You will not give them any more money for any reason
  • You will not bail them out of jail if they are arrested
  • You will not pay their legal fees
  • You will not call in sick, lie, or cover for them anymore
  • They must be polite and respectful when talking to you or they must leave immediately

The boundaries you set will reflect your own needs in the relationship and how you expect to be treated. Once you decide what you need and what you are not willing to do, communicate this with your loved one. Be firm about these boundaries. Do not negotiate or allow yourself to be talked out of them. Do not forget that your feelings and needs matter.

Why is it Important to Set Boundaries With an Addict?

Addiction is often marked by a loss of control. The addict may not be able to stop using drugs or alcohol without treatment, but this doesn’t mean that you need to succumb to the chaos, too. Setting boundaries can bring some structure and calm to an otherwise unstable situation.

Addiction can change the way a person’s brain and body function. People in the throes of addiction become singularly focused on their substance of choice. This means that addicted people often lose the sense of what is fair or reasonable to expect from the people around them. They may ask for more of your time, money, and energy. They may begin to take advantage of your kindness and understanding. In time, your love and support can turn into enabling. 

Deciding to stop enabling your loved one may be the push they need to finally seek addiction treatment. 

Find Addiction Help for Yourself or a Loved One

If you or someone you love need support or addiction treatment, please reach out to the staff at the Mandala Healing Center. We believe in a whole-self approach to addiction treatment. Our holistic treatment programs are designed to treat people’s bodies, minds, and spirits so they can overcome addiction.  

Don’t wait for another day to slip by. Call today for information about starting a life-changing treatment program.