Helping a loved one who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be one of the toughest challenges in any relationship. The hardest part of dealing with addiction is not getting drawn into it emotionally. If you do not protect your well-being, you could easily give in to manipulation or codependency. For this reason, setting boundaries is crucial to your emotional health and your loved one’s recovery.
A drug and alcohol detox center like Atlanta Detox Center teaches addiction boundaries in GA. As the spouse, parent, or child of the addicted person, you can participate in individual or family therapy, as well as support groups to learn more about setting boundaries. By applying boundaries in your relationship, you are more likely to maintain your mental stability and save your family.
What Are Boundaries in Addiction?
It is important to understand why boundaries exist. The purpose of boundaries is not to control the behavior or thoughts of the addicted person. Instead, boundaries are rules and guidelines that you establish to protect yourself and other people in your family. They ensure that you are not taken advantage of or abused by your loved one. Some examples of verbal boundaries may include:
- No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the house.
- No friends who drink or use drugs are allowed in the house.
- Refuse to bail you out of jail if you are arrested for drugs.
- I will no longer allow you to abuse me when you are drunk.
- Refuse to give you money.
- I will no longer cover for you if you get in trouble at work.
Setting Boundaries in Your Home
Be specific with your boundaries. If you are going to get your message across, you need to set precise boundaries. If you tell someone, ‘You hurt my feelings,’ they may not know what you are talking about. However, if you tell someone, “Every time you get drunk, you insult me in front of other people” and then follow it up with examples, the addicted person has a clearer understanding of the rule or guideline.
When you set a boundary, make sure that the boundary is specific and correlates to the behavior you want to address. Avoid vague language or concepts that keep the person guessing as to what they have done wrong.
Include a Consequence for Breaking the Boundary
One of the things you may learn in a family therapy program is that actions have consequences – whether intended or not. When a person understands the consequences of their actions, they are more likely to stop their behavior. When setting boundaries, make sure you include the consequence with the rule.
For instance, what can your addicted loved one expect the next time they steal money from you? What will happen if your spouse walks in drunk at 2:30 am again? If they know the consequences, they may reconsider their behavior.
Enforce the Boundaries with Action
Boundaries with no consequences are no boundaries at all. Instead, they are useless attempts to control the addicted person or get their attention. Remember that setting boundaries are for your safety and well-being. If you do not enforce the boundary, you are hurting yourself more than the addicted person.
One way of enforcing a boundary is to stage an intervention with your loved one. You may have a plan to speak with them and encourage them to join a substance abuse treatment program. Alternatively, if they refuse to listen to you, you may need to leave or kick them out of the house. The addicted person needs to understand that you are serious about helping them and protecting your family. Make sure you have an action plan for enforcing the boundaries and follow through with it.
Contact Atlanta Detox Center for Addiction Treatment
Setting boundaries is hard. However, they may be the one thing that changes your loved one’s life. If you or a loved one wants to learn more about addiction boundaries in GA, contact Atlanta Detox Center at 470.450.2355. We offer addiction treatment therapies for all types of addictions and mental health issues.