A Better Today

Healthy Boundaries
After Treatment

Sticking to Your Boundaries Once Your Loved One Returns From Treatment

The emotional turmoil that addiction brings is like nothing else. The pain and devastation of watching a loved one spiral into an abyss of drug and alcohol abuse.

Addiction is a unique disease in that much of the work must be done by the individual. Cancer and other diseases do not require the kind of isolated work that addiction does. If your loved one is in active addiction, he or she can be especially difficult to deal with. Healthy boundaries are the best way to ensure that you are not manipulated or helping the person continue to use.

The situation is not easy. After all, this is your brother, mother, son, cousin, best friend. The natural tendency is to be open and giving toward those we love. However, when the loved one is struggling with substances abuse, the best way to help him or her is to be firm and restrained.

Upon this important person’s admittance to treatment, we may be inclined to drop our safeguards. However, our loved one needs firm healthy boundaries, in addition to love and support, in order to remain sober and get his or her feet firmly planted in sobriety.

Examples of healthy boundaries post-treatment include insisting on sober living for the person instead of living with you. Also, not giving money directly to the person, but instead to the housing facility or on grocery store money cards. Although this may feel harsh, in fact you are helping remove temptations and providing a lower-stress, safer existence for your loved one.

Refraining from enabling them can keep your loved one from falling back into old ways.