The battle of boundaries and addiction

Eden Recovery Centre clarifies the importance of boundaries and how they can be broken when it comes to addiction in relationships.

Why do relationships need boundaries?
Eden Recovery Centre cannot emphasise enough how boundaries are key in marriage, friendships and relationships between parents, siblings, co-workers and more. That’s because establishing guidelines is a crucial part for any relationship. It’s a great way to ensure that each person’s needs are being met and that you feel safe in a relationship.

Boundaries are important. But even more important if a loved one is battling addiction.
Eden Recovery Centre emphasises the importance of having to set boundaries with a loved one battling addiction. “By setting boundaries, you make the addictive person aware of the consequences of their actions and can possibly increase the chances that he or she will seek help.” Explains Athy from Eden Rehabilitation Centre. So where should one start?

Start by setting boundaries for yourself.
What are you willing to put up with? If your loved one is addicted to heroin, painkillers, alcohol – or any other drug, you need to establish boundaries. Setting solid boundaries for yourself allows you to bring a measure of control and sanity into a chaotic and insane situation. Eden Recovery Centre advises on the following boundaries – which are a good place to start when deciding how and what boundaries to set.

Boundary 1: No drugs or alcohol are allowed around me or in the house.
Eden Recovery Centre advises all that you should let your loved ones know what substances are acceptable and unacceptable in the home. Let your loved one understand the consequences if he or she violates these boundaries. Would they need to find somewhere else to stay? Would you notify the police? Reclaim control over what goes on in your home, within your personal space, and the space around your children or grandchildren.

Boundary 2: No drug-using friends are allowed in the home.
Just because your loved one may not be using at the time, doesn’t mean his or her friends aren’t using. If you don’t want someone who is high in your home, then you shouldn’t have to put up with that. Laying out such a boundary reduces the damaging effect of addiction on the family.

Boundary 3:  If you are arrested, I will not bail you out or pay for a lawyer to defend you.
Eden Recovery Centre explains that this type of boundary will prompt responsibility for your loved one. Although addiction is a disease that needs to be treated as such, there is a responsibility that lies upon your loved one to take care of him or herself by getting help. When you set such a limit, you are letting him know that he is an adult and is responsible for himself.

Boundary 4: I will not give you any more money – whether it is to pay a bill, buy you food, or put gas in your vehicle.
Addiction can distort family roles: it turns family members into caretakers, scapegoats, doormats, enablers and pleasers. Remember, setting boundaries won’t cure the addiction or control an addicted person – but they will protect you. Protect your mental health, your physical well-being, and your finances explains Athy from Eden Recovery centre.

Boundary 5: I will not lie or ‘cover’ for you anymore – regardless of the circumstances.
Insisting that your loved one act more responsibly will benefit both of you. The disease of addiction thrives in chaos and lies. Set boundaries that will help to remove you from such mayhem, and force your loved one to take ownership in his or her actions and behaviours.

Boundary 6: If you aren’t on time for dinner, you are not welcome to join us.
With the focus on an addicted individual, family members never put themselves first. If you’re constantly worrying about your loved one and the troubles his drinking or drugging bring onto him or the family – you’re being robbed of your peace of mind. Just as your loved one’s life has been taken over by addiction, so too has that of your family. Set boundaries and take back what is important to you.

Setting boundaries is important for both you and your loved one. With boundaries, you are less likely to become entangled in the chaos of the addiction, and you will keep the focus on yourself and your wellbeing.

For information on Eden Recovery Centre’s Treatment Programmes and advice, please feel free to contact the Eden Recovery Centre. You can depend on full discretion.

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