The affliction of addiction affects not only the person using substances but also those around them. Users who are addicted go to any length to fulfill their desires, and it adversely affects the people around them—supporting them during this time, whether financially or emotionally, can be challenging and confusing. There is a constant battle of helping them without allowing their destructive habits to nurture.
Creating boundaries is the best way to protect your sanity while helping your loved ones. It’s an effective strategy to set them on the road to recovery without having to compromise your rights. Setting no boundaries for yourself means that you’re at risk of being lied to, deceived, and having your trust betrayed multiple times.
You must understand the limits within which you must operate. If you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation, here are some things you can do to avoid them.
1. Cleansing your space
A line that you can draw firmly in the sand to prevent your loved one from using drugs while they are living with you is to set up a “no drugs on my property” policy. Your domain must be free of alcohol and drugs of any kind. Let them know the consequences if they violate it. Communicate that you have a family and children, and you don’t want them to be exposed to unhealthy habits.
Should they violate this policy, rehab is the best solution. There are many organizations like the Delphi Health Group that offer their services in cleansing users’ bodies of drugs. Getting your loved ones clean is the most loving thing you can do for them.
2. Accountability and Independence
Most addicts spend all their money on their favorite substances and rely on friends or family for other needs. In such a case, you must be firm and refuse to assist them. If you allow them to continue their toxic journey, you will also open the path for them to become dependent upon you, which will cause a lot of distress for you in the long run.
If you haven’t been firm from the beginning, don’t shy away from saying “no” now. Hearing can sprout embarrassing instances, which might discourage them from asking. Also, this step can be the jolt to make them aware of their finances and perhaps put them off on their drug expenditures.
3. No Bail
Deny your loved ones any bail in case they encounter trouble with the law. When no one goes to their aid and fixes their mistakes, they will be held accountable for their actions.
Who knows this strategy can be a catalyst for them to take charge of their habits. It will also help you to focus on your mental health. On the plus side, your finances will not suffer when you won’t have to bail them out every other day.
4. Stop Covering
Often, we do not even realize that our loved ones are manipulating us emotionally. Our love sets us on our own destructive habits, which in turn, fuel theirs. For instance, protecting and covering them with their destructive patterns. If you cover for a loved one’s usage habits, you are enabling them to continue this toxic journey. A disease like addiction is fueled by lies and deceit and it’ll only make matters worse. In addition, you will be an easy target when they need to get something done their way.
Make it clear that you will no longer be covering for them. Neither will you call their workplace to act on their behalf or lie about their habits to get them out of therapy. It will take a lot of pressure off of you, and might facilitate some critical thinking and accountability on their part.
5. Toughen yourself
You must become resolute in your stance and take no unwarranted criticism. When you start making hard decisions with loved ones, there will always be the element of emotional blackmail and ridicule to get you into doing their bidding. It’s important to establish your self-respect and dignity and take no taunts. Your mental health and finances are more important, and a substance-using loved one should not be able to manipulate you into enabling them in their toxic journey.
6. Hold firm with your words
If your loved ones forego the boundaries you have set with them, do not let that go unnoticed. Empty words and warnings will always encourage them to go ahead with what they’re doing. If you’ve warned of not letting them stay at your place should they violate your policies, then act upon it. Stand by your words and decisions firmly.
It is important to help your loved ones through the tough journey of addiction, but it should not come at the cost of your mental health and finances. In situations like these, it’s important to toughen up and take some hard decisions; decisions like no contraband under your roof, no covering for them, no bail, and taking action on the warnings that you dole out. The goal is to instill a sense of accountability and make them conscious of their actions. Remember, becoming soft in their case will only worsen it. Not stepping up to help them will allow them to face the consequences of their actions and take a step in the right direction.