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Setting Healthy Boundaries with Family Members in Recovery

Recovery Centers of America

Authored by Recovery Centers of America

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, in treatment, or in recovery, you want to be a source of support while also setting healthy boundaries and taking care of yourself. Addiction impacts every member of the family unit, which means that you need support during the treatment journey just like your loved one does. Healthy family relationships in recovery are possible, and the family services and resources available from Recovery Centers of America can help you and your loved one navigate the challenges of addiction together.

It’s important to understand how codependency is connected to addiction, what it looks like to enable someone, and the ways you can support a loved one in recovery in a healthy way. Read on below to learn more and to find out how RCA can help.

Call [Direct] today to discover what family services are available for you and your loved one in recovery.

Codependency and Addiction

Codependency is a term used to describe a dysfunctional relationship between two people. Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that can fall into codependency—it can happen in any kind of relationship, including family relationships. A codependent person tends to prioritize the needs of a loved one struggling with addiction over their own, enabling and sometimes even participating in destructive behaviors.

For example, a mother may constantly bail her adult child out of legal or financial trouble caused by their addiction, afraid to say no and risk losing their relationship. A spouse may cover for their partner’s drug use, making excuses and lying to protect them from consequences. This behavior may seem loving and supportive in the moment, but it ultimately hinders the person with addiction from seeking help and taking responsibility for their actions.

In addition to being harmful to the individual in recovery, codependency can also negatively impact the entire family unit. It can strain relationships and create a toxic dynamic that is difficult to break free from. That’s why it’s important for families of individuals struggling with addiction to address codependency and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

Signs of codependency can include:

  • Difficulty setting boundaries
  • Feeling responsible for the actions of others
  • Ignoring one’s own needs and feelings to focus on someone else
  • Being overly controlling or possessive
  • Enabling destructive behaviors instead of holding loved ones accountable

It’s possible to build healthy family relationships in recovery, even if codependency has been present in the past.

How Enabling Hurts

Enabling is often a result of codependency, and it can be difficult to recognize when it’s happening. Enabling occurs when loved ones enable someone with addiction by making excuses for their behavior, protecting them from consequences, or providing financial support even though it may be used for drugs or alcohol.

While enabling may come from a place of love and wanting to help, it ultimately enables the cycle of addiction to continue. It can actually harm the individual by preventing them from facing the consequences of their actions and getting the help they need.

Ways to Build Healthy Family Relationships in Recovery

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Setting boundaries is an essential part of maintaining a healthy family relationship in recovery. It’s important to establish what you are comfortable with and what you are not and communicate those boundaries clearly to your loved one. Examples of boundaries may include:

  • Not engaging with your loved one when they are under the influence
  • Not enabling their addictive behaviors
  • Not taking responsibility for their actions
  • Prioritizing self-care and not sacrificing your own well-being

While boundaries can be difficult to set and maintain, they are crucial for both you and your loved one’s recovery journey.

Education and Connection

In addition to setting boundaries, educating yourself about addiction and connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful in building healthy family relationships. Even if your loved one isn’t at a place in treatment yet where they’re ready for family counseling, attending webinars, live events, and support groups can provide valuable insight and resources for you as a family member and remind you that you’re not alone in this journey.

Participate in Family Counseling

When appropriate, participating in family counseling can be incredibly beneficial for building healthy relationships in recovery. This type of therapy allows all family members to come together and address any unresolved issues, learn new communication skills, and work towards healing as a unit. A professional therapist guides the sessions and provides tools for effective communication and coping skills.

Reach Out to Recovery Centers of America Today for Family Support

At every step of the recovery journey, we’re here to support families. Our intervention services have a 90% success rate in helping people access treatment, and our family programming provides resources and education that can help you and your loved one heal and grow together. Contact us today at [Direct] or reach out online to learn more about how we can support you in creating healthy family relationships in recovery.

Authored by

Recovery Centers of America

Recovery Centers of America



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