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3. Boundaries, Control and Addiction


Are you bound or do you know someone who is bound by addiction? This blog provides support and understanding to this situation.

The costs of addiction and its implications are huge. According to the website: www.actiononaddiction.org.uk - Alcohol abuse can cause a range of effects from"cirrhosis of the liver to impotence. Effects of alcohol abuse can be generational, an alcoholic mother can pass on permanent, disabling devastation to her unborn child by drinking alcohol."

The following are signs of addiction:

Inability to relax, erratic behavior with violent mood swings, incoherent speech, hyperactivity; talking for long periods of time, deterioration of physical appearance.

The turmoil within a family living or dealing with an alcoholic are devastating. In order to have power you need to realize you cannot change anyone, only yourself. In order to function, you must set boundaries for yourself.

Boundaries are the cause-effect behaviors that provide protection and control for yourself. They give you limits of what you will and will not do, and the actions that follow them. They also stop you from trying to control someone by placing limits on yourself. Boundaries need to be followed by unapologetic actions. Do not be passive.

The types of boundaries from the book "Boundaries" written by Dr's Townsend and Cloud are: “skin, words, truth, physical space, time, emotional distance, other people, consequences.”

Let me clarify by giving you an example of what you could say or do:

Skin: Use self-respecting, clear words what you will and will not do. Do not argue or give into any demands. For example; "I do not want to be touched."

Words: Plan your words and be fully clear. Don’t be passive. Use ‘yes’ and ‘no’ statements, such as ‘I will not do this.”

Truth: Absolute honesty is always the best way. Start your sentences with “I” words instead of ‘you’ words as those sentences usually become accusatory. "I want you to stop touching me."

Physical Space: Let him or her know you need time apart. Be truthful and even let your hurt be shown. Honesty is the absolute best policy. "I want to be alone now."

Time: This allows you to begin the stage of healing. It will take a while to heal. Don’t rush the process.

Emotional Distance: Gives you breathing space and allows you to see if the other person is willing to change.

Other People: Look for support especially if you are nervous about confronting him or her even with a planned discussion. For example, AA has support group groups as do so many other organizations.

Consequences: Inform the other person very clearly and kindly of the consequence that will follow if their addictions are not controlled. For example immediately report to Police if she or he attempts to drive under the influence. They have full control over these consequences based on their own actions.

Setting boundaries with addictive personalities can be challenging. With persistence, patience and strength you can overcome.

If you would need support or have questions please feel free to contact me at: