Why Family Boundaries Matter to Staying Healthy

Why Family Boundaries Matter to Staying Healthy

Addiction can take hold of people and make them different than loved ones remember. Families are impacted by the addiction more than others because they spend the most time with the person. More often than not, a person with addiction can create negative influence and harm people’s lives due to addiction. Boundaries are one way that people can stay healthy while coping with a loved one’s addiction.

Family and Addiction

The challenge of dealing with family and addiction is that they are the same ones who love and support you while also being the same people who may be enabling the behavior to continue. Love and enabling behavior are not the same thing. Addiction is difficult for a family to deal with because they are not always sure what to do or how to act. Even if every tool is used to keep things moving towards healing, the person with addiction may pull further away into stress, anxiety, and a response of fear. Enabling behavior can happen in families with loved ones who struggle with addiction before anyone is even aware. It takes therapeutic intervention sometimes to help everyone realize their role in the addict’s behavior.


Boundaries are a sticking point for a healthy recovery in people with addiction. Although it is complex, recovery can only happen if loved ones who surround them are healthy, as well. Negative behavior or toxic thinking patterns may bring a person down. Families can experience huge obstacles when addiction comes to the surface, even after it is treated. If a person in recovery decides to jump in with both feet, the other family members should be willing to get on board, as well. There are myriad support groups to help families work through all the challenges of addiction. Support groups, therapy, and family counseling can help people realize how to have healthier boundaries in recovery.

Set and Stick

Setting boundaries is the starting point, sticking to them is quite another. It took years to form bad habits, so it is likely to take years or longer to undo old habits in a family system. It may never fully be the way it should be, but at least it can be more functional. Family members may feel like they are not part of the problem but they can still try to be part of the solution for the sake of the loved one with addiction. It helps to try the following:

  • Have open and up-front communication about everything
  • Speak honestly rather than passively
  • Think about what needs to be said or done ahead of time
  • Be patient but firm with the loved one

Boundaries are for everyone in a family where addiction comes into play. It may be that someone wants to break rank and start enabling the loved one’s behavior again. This can throw everyone off course, not to mention jeopardize the loved one’s recovery. Keep focused on family goals and set up everyone for success by having a goal to work towards and markers to determine how you will all know you’ve arrived. The person with addiction should continue therapy, support groups, and finding spaces away from family to associate with friends. Family members can find support for themselves, set up family meetings to check in with one another, and continue giving out as much support as possible through the difficult times. It is only by joining hands and walking through it together that everyone will survive the challenges of addiction.

Oceanfront will help you kick addiction to the curb with our premier beachfront community in Laguna Beach. We are founded on the principle of providing the best in care and services at affordable prices. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295