“This is the last straw,” you tell yourself, as you unload the washing machine to find that little plastic bag with cocaine residue. Your brother Greg has been sleeping on your couch for weeks now. He barely makes it into work some days after his long nights of drinking and cocaine drags. You absolutely cannot bear it any further. Yet you know that if you kick him out, he may very well spiral out of control. What do you do?

In a family where addiction has become a battle, establishing boundaries is essential to managing the day to day movements. Boundaries are not rules. They are a way of presenting with assertiveness what you will and will not allow. It the only definitive way to express what you choose to receive from another in terms of behavior. To assert your choice, it is important to use “I” statements. This defines that this is a personal choice or action, without shifting blame to the listener.

A person in the midst of addiction has the tendency to lie and manipulate to perpetuate the substance abuse. As a family member, you may be dragged into the vortex of confusion. Shame and guilt are often emotions felt when saying no to an addict’s pleas or requests. Remain calm and create the boundary without compromising or falling victim. Take time to respond, avoid reacting from a place of frustration or anger. Include what the behavior is, how your feeling about the behavior, and say what you want to do (boundary). An example of an “I” statement is: “I cannot loan out money at the moment. I am not comfortable loaning out money, I prefer to receive payment for the last loan I made.”

Be consistent. Especially with family. They may appeal to your emotions, however, consistency is the definitive establishment of the boundary. Retain your boundary by observation and acknowledgment that it is being kept. Respond appropriately otherwise. These are difficult situations. If you feel that you have reached your limit, it may be time to ask for help. A drug and alcohol treatment program may be the best direction for you and your loved one.

Asana Recovery offers a supervised detoxification and residential treatment programs in a supportive, relaxative, and inspiring environment. Call us today at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about the facilities and discuss whether our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction program is right for you.