3 Things Loved Ones Of Addicts Can Do To Protect Themselves

Having a loved one with an addiction can be heart breaking. There is a lot of trauma and strain on a relationship when one person has an addiction. Luckily, there are some things that loved ones of addicts can do to protect themselves and still maintain a healthy relationship. Here are some tips.

1. Set Clear Boundaries

One of the first things that you need to do is set clear boundaries with your loved one. If the addiction affects you, such as sexual acting out, abuse while intoxicated, or gambling family money, you have to protect yourself. With a therapist, you can determine what the right boundaries are in your relationship. You may have to say that if the person acts out on their addiction, they cannot sleep in the house. For instance, if the person comes home intoxicated, the doors will be locked and you will call the police if they try to get into the house.

These boundaries are not there to punish the individual; they are there to protect the innocent party. These boundaries should be set thinking about the family and loved ones, not necessarily about the addict. This way, the family can be protected even when the individual acts out.

2. Relieve Yourself of "Fixing" Them

Another important thing is to accept the fact that you cannot fix your loved one. Many times people mistakenly think that they can "love" an addict out of their addiction. Love is very powerful, but alone, it cannot change an addict. And in many cases, the addict wants to be free of their addiction and wants to have a healthy relationship with their loved ones but is unable to without professional help. This is why it is best if the family is there for support and help, but they cannot be the main source of help. There should be medical professionals, counselors, sponsors, and other individuals who are not emotionally attached helping to free the addict of their destructive behaviors.

3. Recognize That You Are Not Responsible For The Behavior

Many times loved ones of addicts blame themselves for the addict's behavior. They might say, "if I was a better wife, father, child, etc., then they wouldn't need to act out." Although you will play a role in the addict's life, you are not responsible for their actions; they alone are. You must let this be their battle and you can't blame yourself.

By doing these things loved ones of addicts can stay emotionally healthy.  For more help, contact a company like Lifeline.