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How to Set Boundaries With an Addict

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If you have an addicted loved one, as difficult as it may be, it’s important for you to set boundaries with them. Setting boundaries with an addict will not only help protect you from the addict’s behavior, but it will also protect your mental health. Although it can be hard to stick to boundaries, doing so is necessary for both of your wellbeing.

Why You Need to Set Boundaries With an Addict

Setting boundaries with an addict is necessary, because if you don’t set boundaries, the addict can take advantage of you. They may try to control your life and get their needs met in any way possible. This isn’t fair to you, and it’s not healthy for either of you.

To prevent this from happening, you need to be clear about what is and is not allowed. Set boundaries that protect both you and the addict, and stick to them no matter what. This is a crucial step in your recovery process, and it will help you feel more in control and secure.

Protect Yourself from Codependency

Setting healthy boundaries will help protect you from developing a codependent relationship with your addicted loved one. Codependency is a condition where someone has an unhealthy emotional dependency on another person.

Codependency can lead to physical or emotional abuse. It’s crucial that you understand the signs of codependency and how it harms you so that you can protect yourself from being victimized.

couple not speaking

Signs of Codependency:

  • Tending to the addict’s needs before your own
  • Ignoring or denying problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Making excuses for the addict
  • Feeling responsible for the addict’s happiness
  • Keeping quiet to avoid arguments


Protect Your Mental Health

When you have an addicted loved one, you naturally want to do anything you can to help them get better. However, often what ends up happening is your own well-being gets put on the back burner because you are so focused on the needs of your loved one. 

You need to start taking care of yourself by relaxing, spending time alone to relax or with friends, and doing things that you enjoy. If you don’t make time for yourself and your needs, you’ll be exhausted from carrying all of your loved one’s problems. 


The Importance of Sticking to Your Boundaries

It can be difficult to set boundaries with an addict, but without boundaries, you might as well be giving the addict free rein. You need to be assertive in order to avoid becoming codependent or slipping into a dysfunctional family role that often happens in response to a loved one’s addiction.

Remember: you are not responsible for their actions. If you don’t have any boundary rules, the addict will push your limits until they’re broken. It’s up to you to set the boundaries and enforce them. 

Be assertive and clear about what is and isn’t allowed, and stick to them no matter what. 


5 Examples of Healthy Boundaries

Addicts often feel lost and confused. They may not know what healthy boundaries are, or how to set them. That’s why it’s important to understand what boundaries are, and how to set them. 

When establishing healthy boundaries, be clear and concise about what is and is not acceptable behavior. Communicate your boundaries honestly and openly to help your addict understand and respect them.


1. Not Allowing Substances in the House

It is important to set boundaries and not allow substances in the house – whether it be drugs or alcohol. This will help regulate your loved one’s behavior, prevent them from engaging in substance abuse, and keep the family safe. 


2. Refusing to Bail Them Out

Addiction is a disease that needs professional help, and it is not someone’s personal responsibility to fix. Refusing to bail an addict out teaches them that they can’t depend on you to fix a problem every time they get in trouble. 


3. Not Tolerating Disrespect

If your loved one is behaving in a way that is blatantly disrespectful or hurtful, you are allowed to deprive them of certain privileges – such as not allowing them to sleep at your home anymore or participate in family events. 


4. Refusing to Lend Money

It is important to set boundaries with addicts and not lend them money. This will help them to learn how to budget and manage their money better in the future. By refusing to loan them money, you are setting a good example for them, which hopefully will lead to addiction recovery. 


5. Stop Lying or Making Excuses on Their Behalf

When it comes to addiction and unhealthy relationships, people often make excuses for their addicted loved one. This is not healthy behavior and will only lead to more pain in the long run. 

Know that you are not responsible for their behavior – they are solely accountable. If they break your boundaries or hurt you in any way, be firm with them. Don’t let them guilt you into staying in a toxic relationship or helping them with their addiction – this isn’t fair on either of you.

How to Communicate Your Boundaries

When it comes to addiction, it’s important to set boundaries and protect yourself and your loved ones. It can be difficult to do, but with a communication plan that works for you, and a willingness to stick to it, you’ll be on your way to a healthy and positive relationship with an addict. 

Be clear about your boundaries – Clearly communicate what is and is not acceptable behavior. Make sure any punishments or consequences are fair and consistent, and be prepared to enforce them. 

man setting boundaries with friend

Use “I” statements – This will help you express your boundaries clearly and respectfully. For example, say “I need space,” or “I feel unappreciated,” instead of “You’re always making me feel like I’m nothing.” This will help the addict understand that you’re not asking for anything they can’t give – you’re simply asking for some space. 

By using “I” statements, you are not placing blame on the person, you are simply trying to communicate how you feel.  

Be assertive – Do not sweep it under the rug if a boundary is violated. Assertively communicate your limits, emotions, and needs in order to avoid any misunderstandings surrounding boundaries. 


How to Deal With a Boundary Violation

Addictions can be incredibly destructive, and boundaries can be easily broken. However, it’s important to deal with the addiction in a calm and rational manner. 

If this happens, take a step back and assess the situation. Continue to establish boundaries that are necessary for both of your safety and well-being. If they continue to violate your boundaries, take steps to limit contact with them. 

Remember, you are not at fault for the addict’s behavior. Stick to your boundaries, and you will be able to cope with the addiction in a healthier way.


How to Cope With a Loved One’s Addiction

Coping with addiction is a never-ending process that requires patience, understanding, and love on both sides. Remember, you’re setting these boundaries because you love and care about your addicted loved one. 

Take Care of Yourself

No one can do it all – not even the best of us. So, if you find yourself struggling to cope with a difficult situation or addiction, you are not alone. Don’t put your own needs to the side while trying to care for your addicted loved one. 

Practice self-care by taking time to relax, exercise, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. If you are not taking care of yourself first, you will not be able to take care of others. 

Seek Support

Although you may be feeling incredibly alone in your situation, there are many other people going through the same thing you are experiencing. There are both in-person and online support groups for friends and family members of addicts which can help you feel less alone during this difficult time. 

You may also want to seek individual counseling to help you through this, and rely on friends and family members. 

Addictions are a difficult and complicated problem to deal with, but setting boundaries is one of the most important steps in overcoming addiction. By knowing what healthy boundaries look like and sticking to them, you can help your loved one stay healthy and sober. 

If you are looking for support for yourself or your loved one, contact our addiction specialists at The PAC Program.