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How to Set Boundaries with an Addict

How to Set Boundaries with an AddictMost addicts operate in a world where boundaries are viewed only as obstacles to getting their drug of choice. Boundaries for addicts interfere with what is most important to them. From an addict’s perspective, boundaries are bothersome, frustrating, and a hindrance.

However for the people in the San Diego area who are involved with an addict, effective boundaries are the foundation of a healthy relationship based on trust, stability, and respect. Families, friends, and colleagues of addicts need to set boundaries to limit the behavior of the user and protect their needs and rights so as to feel secure and respected.

Setting Boundaries for Addicts

To implement boundaries and keep you and your San Diego area family safe, you need to do the following:

  • Define the boundary
  • Set the boundary
  • Keep the boundary

While it appears to be relatively easy to implement boundaries, actually it is often quite difficult to do especially in an emotionally-charged situation.

Defining a Boundary with an Addict

This is probably the most difficult part of implementing boundaries because it requires considerable thought and analysis during an emotional time. It is often useful to seek help from a family mediator or interventionist in the San Diego area who can objectively move you through this process. You want to make sure that a boundary is clearly defined in the following ways:

  • Issue being addressed
  • Specific behaviors
  • Expected outcome
  • Risks of the boundary
  • Definition of boundary
  • Clear consequences
  • Methods to measure the maintenance of the boundary
  • Timeframe for the boundary
  • Reevaluating the boundary

While you are working on each individual component of the boundary, you need to make sure that your motives are not anger-driven and that your boundary is realistic. Most importantly, you want to make sure that everyone involved in setting the boundary is on the same page and that the boundary encourages the addict to take personal responsibility.

When you speak with the addict about these boundaries, this discussion is often a part of an intervention. The intervention experience is often extremely emotional and often has a greater chance for a successful outcome when guided by a local San Diego interventionist.

Keeping a Boundary with a Drug Addict

When a person is successful in keeping a boundary, he or she progresses towards seeking the help that he or she needs to become sober. It is important for the people who imposed the boundary to acknowledge when the addict is staying within the boundary. It is even more important to respond if the addict has broken the boundary.

When a boundary is broken, it is important to avoid denial and acknowledge that the boundary is broken. You then need to take the time to formulate your response because you do not want to act from a place of frustration or anger. You also need to be confident that you can implement the consequence.

Get Help Finding Drug Rehabilitation Resources for San Diego Residents

If you or a loved one in the San Diego area is struggling with addiction or setting boundaries, we can help. Call our toll-free number any time; we are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about drub rehabilitation, addiction and healthy boundaries. We can listen to your struggles, answer your questions about rehab options, explore your insurance coverage, and provide you with resources to help you on the road to recovery.