Substance abuse is a reality that affects more than just the person addicted to it. It affects an addict’s loved ones and friends, and chances are this is precisely what you are dealing with.
Recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol is never easy. Because of its nature, those suffering from it often cheat, steal, lie, or cover their tracks. This makes helping them out a challenge. Despite your love for these people, their lack of determination or stubbornness may be pushing your buttons.
The Need for Good Boundaries
Weaker boundaries compromises who you are. You can lose your control and freedom, and maybe even yourself. Because you’re the only one with complete control, setting boundaries is important for proper self-maintenance.
You might ask, especially if the substance abuser is your partner or child: How can I be an effective partner or parent if I have limits? You feel like there’s a wall that separates you from your loved one. It’s hard to see a friend or relative suffer from addiction but prioritize boundaries.
Sorting Out Unacceptable Behaviors
Determining boundaries begins by figuring out which behaviors you consider unacceptable. Observe your loved one over the course of a week or two and write everything down. Do they belittle or often make rude comments about you? Are they physically or emotionally abusive?
Vizown.com, an alcohol treatment center in Oklahoma, states that a number of these behaviors fall into “gray areas”, which makes sorting difficult. Next time, make observations before immediately stepping in. Creating a list helps you create better arguments with the person involved.
Consequences for Crossed Boundaries
After determining unacceptable behaviors, figure out the consequences that come with crossing the boundary. Setting it is easier than enforcing. So, a number of self-help articles recommend pointing out to loved ones when they’ve crossed the line. Boundaries without consequences defeat the purpose.
It’s painful, but it’s what they need. Some of the best consequences involve a distance between you and the person. If your loved one lied to you, do not throw a fit. Instead, calmly confront them and disengage from the lie.
Your love for a relative or friend drives you to help them out. But sometimes, you need some space. You’re not doing this just for yourself — you want to be a better support system for them. By setting boundaries, you help them become the better person they should be.