BOUNDARIES KEEP US SAFE 

An addiction counselor told me, My biggest challenge is helping clients establish boundaries with the addicts in their lives. Recently, a mother explained that her son, who is actively abusing drugs, lives with her while she cooks for him, cleans his room, and does his laundry. In order to help her take steps toward setting boundaries, I asked her, “Could you quit doing his laundry?” She did just that; however, the son screamed at her and accused her of not loving him. She immediately went back to doing his laundry and quit coming to sessions.

My reflection: When Jeff was in active addiction, I was consumed with worry and thought I could control his behavior. For instance, when he lost his cell phone, I bought him another one because I wanted to stay in touch with him. He was as elusive with the new phone as the old one, and my resentment grew.

Today’s Promise to consider: Boundaries keep us safe. Dr. MacAfee explained that my addicted son needed to know what I would and would not do. “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” MacAfee recommended. “Jeff must know that your parameters are clear. It’s essential for both of you.”

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RobinRedbreast
RobinRedbreast
2 years ago

Thank you for your blog! Boundaries are so important. And while I don’t always “say what I mean” and “mean what I say,” I aspire to it.

Pat Nichols
2 years ago

Here is one of my favorite quotes, “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” Maya Angelou I learned to ask myself just one question, is my boundary helping my addicted child find long term recovery? If I could not answer that question I contacted my alcohol/drug counselor and/or my 12 step sponsor to help me understand the recovery reasoning behind my eventual response. I found it is not possible for me to do my own recovery by myself. I needed others to walk with me and allow me to feel safe in sharing my fears. It was vital for me to be open and honest with others who have walked in my shoes. This freed me from my blame and shame. I broke free from my denial. When my son would call and beg me for money and/or other assistance relating to his addiction I would say, I love you son but I can not help you. And when I hung up the phone I was at peace. This just my personal experience and each of us must find our recovery in our own way and in our own time.

Penny
Penny
2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Nichols

Pat, I love your quote. It couldn’t be more true. We shouldn’t hold ourselves accountable for something we haven’t learned yet. And I totally agree with your statement that it’s impossible for me to do recovery by myself. That’s why my Al Anon family is so important in my life.

GAIL COOK
GAIL COOK
2 years ago

I SET BOUNDARIES BUT MY SON DOES NOT STOP, HE WILL KEEP ASKING, OR HE KEEPS TEXTING ME FROM HIS ROOM. HE GETS LOUD AND MEAN. I HAD HIM ARRESTED IN NOV, BUT WHEN WE WENT TO COURT THEY DROPPED THE NO CONTACT TO A DISORDERLY CONDUCT AND THEN HIS GIRLFRIEND WENT TO JAIL AND HE ENDED UP BACK AT MY HOUSE EVEN THO I TOLD HIM HE COULD NOT STAY, HE WONT LEAVE. HE THINKS HE IS STAYING UNTIL SHE GETS OUT IN APRIL, BUT THAT CANT HAPPEN. WE DO NOTHING BUT ARGUE. AFTER WORKING 9-10 HOURS, I WANT TO COME HOME TO A CLEAN HOUSE THE WAY I LEFT IT AND PEACE AND QUIT. HE ALSO NOW HAS A WARRANT,. SO ONE PHONE CALL AND HE WILL BE IN JAIL. I LOVE HIM BUT I JUST CANT KEEP LIVING LIFE LIKE THIS. I WANT HAPPINESS, THE HAPPINESS I LOST YEARS AGO BECAUSE OF HIS ADDICTION.