I – Implement Rules and Boundaries


This is where the rubber starts to meet the road.  For too long we have drawn lines in thesand.  Lines become easily erased with the passing of time as we start to let things slide.  If we are going to go through the effort of Setting Rules and Implementing Boundaries they must be something we can live with and stand firm in.
Allison Bottke states in her book…

Implementing rules and boundaries is a major part of acquiring the strength we’re going to need on the journey.
Some “musts” in defining those rules and boundaries.
·      We must have a clearly defined action plan before confronting our adult children.
·      We must establish consequences and stick with them.
·      We must present a unified front if we are married.
·      We must not get involved in debate, discussion,or trying to help our adult children figure things out
·      We must encourage our adult children to figure things out for themselves
·      We must be willing to ask ourselves, “Who am I outside of this issue/child?”
·      We must be willing to shift the focus off ouradult children and onto our own lives.

This process is not for the faint of heart.  It will take thought, time and understandingof what we have let happen in the past. And we will need strength to stand firm in this; as I have stated before, once you begin this process you will be met with chaos from your adult child.  They will not understand nor like these new boundaries and will fight against them.  They will pull out every weapon o fmanipulation they can find to use against you.
The word Boundary implies “you can go this far and no further” like a fence or a wall.  It is put in place for the protection of those on each side of it, and to uphold something of importance.  Helping our addicted loved ones requires these boundaries to be put in place and for them to stay in place.  Their growth and our sanity will depend on it.
Doing this in our family has been absolutely paramount.  Before this our lives were filled with the constant chaos and upheaval that addiction brings.  The unwarranted guilt that I carried because my son had gotten caught up in addiction made me feel like I had to do it all; fix his problems, pay his bills, find his way for him… the truth is; by doing those things I was robbing him of the much needed work he needed to do to own his place in the addiction process and too find the reasons to fight his way out.
I will promise you this won’t be easy, but it will eventually bring peace to your home and potentially new life to our addict.
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One comment on “I – Implement Rules and Boundaries

  1. Dear Susan,

    I know all to well how hard it is to set those boundaries. How to we continue to love our adult children while holding them at arms length or even further? How do we turn off the need to save them from harm?

    Love with boundaries is often the only way to keep our sanity and our own lives in tact. It is painful, excrutiating…but necessary. Sometimes it takes months, for me it was years. But it is amazing how you discover how skilled these adult children are of finding a new way to live and survive without our enabling and with boundaries set. We can not live healthily when another human being is literally sucking the life out of us.

    We have to recognize that we have done all we can….that God did not intend for us to have all the tools and skills necessary to deal with addicted or mentally ill adult children. We are not experts, doctors, psychologists…we are only earthly guardians entrusted with a life…to infuse that little life with all the love we have. Then they are in God’s hands…on the journey God has in mind. With your efforts of love for others Susan, that journey is now a Journey to Hope.

    Much love and appreciation,
    Kathleen

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