Setting Healthy Boundaries Is Crucial When You Love an Addict

If you are the parent of an addict, I want to share with you an example of how you can learn to set healthy boundaries and become a priority in your own life.

Pamela’s son Jason was a crack cocaine addict. Before he discovered crack, Jason had abused marijuana and alcohol regularly. He was also addicted to playing video games and watching porn on the internet. Jason didn’t work or attend school, so he spent his days pursuing his addictions. Well into his thirties, he lived with his mother, free of charge, and didn’t contribute to their household in any positive way.

No matter how often Pamela begged, pleaded, and cajoled, Jason refused to give up his addictions and would not see a counsellor for help. This pattern went on for many years until Pamela, a single mother, began crumbling under the weight of all the stress.

In desperation Pamela reached out to me for help. With my guidance, Pamela began to see that the methods she was using with Jason had actually been enabling him to continue his many dysfunctional behaviours. She needed to make major shifts in the ways she was dealing with her addicted son.

One of the most important changes she made was to begin to take care of herself.

Pamela started to understand that she had a right to a happy and fulfilling life, and after years of struggling and suffering, she found that she enjoyed the process of putting those pieces into place.

At my suggestion, Pamela began to leave her son to live his life as he chose, which included leaving it up to him to do his own shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Jason resented this change—he often became enraged and his behaviour toward his mother grew increasingly abusive.

setting healthy boundaries

In spite of that, Pamela persisted in pursuing her own interests. But, when his abusive behaviour grew unbearable, Pamela asked Jason to move out. She realized she had been enabling him for years and was no longer willing to live this life of codependence.

Within a year of starting therapy, Pamela’s life looked completely different. She had a busy social life, a new love interest, and she was taking part in many activities she loved, instead of devoting every waking moment to Jason’s every need.

As he watched his mother become holistically healthier, Jason saw this as something he could also achieve for himself. He eventually decided to get therapy for himself, and both Jason and Pamela entered into my Family Addiction Therapy Program. At the time of this writing, Jason continues to make the choice, day by day, to remain in recovery from addiction.

This journey has healed the relationship between mother and son. While they see each other regularly, they each have their own productive lives.

Pamela now feels as though she’s in the prime of her life and sees the world through clear eyes of gratitude.

If you’re ready to heal the relationship with your addicted loved one, please follow this link to schedule a free 60-minute telephone consultation with me to find out more about my Family Addiction Therapy Program. Please complete the form you will find there and once I receive it and ascertain that we could be a fit to work together, I will be in touch with you to set up an appropriate time for us to talk.

This article was kindly provided by Candace Plattor, Registered Clinical Counsellor and Addiction Therapist at

About Candace

Candace Plattor, M.A., R.C.C., is an Addictions Therapist in private practice. Candace specialises in working with the family and other loved ones of people who are struggling with addiction, in her unique and signature Family Addiction Therapy Program.

Candace believes that everyone in the family is affected by addiction and everyone needs to heal. For more than 25 years, she has been helping both addicts and their loved ones understand their dysfunctional behaviours and make healthier life choices.

You can visit her website and sign up to receive Chapter 1 of her book, Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction, and “Like” her Facebook page.

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