Boundaries/Detachment, etc. Need advice for a friend

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nomad, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I have a friend that has major issues with setting boundaries and can barely comprehend the word detachment. Interestingly, she is super smart and well educated...I like her a lot. We've talked for years and she has made a tiny bit of headway.

    She has two adult "kids," both with is a drug user.

    The one that is doing drugs is living in her home. Adult Child 1 (AC1) lives in her home along with the spouse. They have two children...who live there as well. She supports them all. That's four people in her home...all of whom she is supporting.

    Her other child (Adult Child 2 (AC2) lives elsewhere and has several children. For the most part, she supports this person and all of those kids as well. One of these kids lives in her home.

    There are a total of 2 adults (AC1 and spouse) and three grandchildren in the home...she and her husband supports them all.

    Anyway, AC1 is mentally unstable and is suppose to go to therapy...but often doesn't go. This person doesn't work and doesn't help with- the kids. AND this person periodically goes on binges (alcohol and mj). Life is frantic/hard.

    I have told her that she needs to set the very least few a few hard a fast ones. Otherwise, AC1 will have to move out. She is having a very hard time doing this. In the mean time, the children are often exposed to things they shouldn't be exposed to.

    For those of you who had to set this type of limit....when and how did you reach this point?

    Another question....

    Should going to therapy or AA be one of the limits? It seems that it should...


    Thank you.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 25, 2011
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    OK I will see if I can give some thoughts on this.... she is enabling both of her kids big time... as adults it is time for them to live their own lives and figure out a way to be self supporting rather than depending on mom. I think it is really hard to stop enabling your kids because as we have said elsewhere it is really hard to see your kids hurting and we so much want to help them.

    Yet often "helping" them just leads them to not helping themselves. So the real question to ask her is what is her goal in financially supporting her kids. What does she want for them and is what she is doing really going to help them get there? If the answer is no then she needs to do something differently.

    As far as boundaries I think they work best when they are boundaries around yourself and what you will put up with, rather than an attempt to control someone elses behavior. So I think requiing an adult child to go to AA or therapy is an attempt to control what they do (albeit with good intentions). That adult child needs to decide for themselves that they are going to do this. However I think it is totally reasonable for her to reqire that no drugs be in the house or around the house, or that he not be in the house if he is high or drunk. Especially with grandchildren involved as this affects them. And drugs in her home, or him being drunk in her home directly affects her.

    It is a hard line to decide upon and I am not sure I have done it very well myself. My son sees me as very controlling and to some extent he is right.... what I have figured out is that doesn't work at least not any more. It works much better if I just set limits on those things that affect me diectly.

    Of course take all of this with a grain of salt because I do not have it all figured out and my 19 year old son is a mess.....or I think he is anyways but at least he is not living at home.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I LIKE what you said.
    On one hand, since I understand how VERY hard this all is, I do comprehend the enormity of the situation and empathize with my friend.
    On the other hand, given the extreme situation she is in .... two adult difficult children...with many children....financially supporting so many on drugs....etc. It is hard for me to fully comprehend how she has not set boundaries/limits as of yet.
    She does seem to be crawling in that direction.
    I relate to what you said about yourself and myself for that matter. It is so very hard. Surely, most of us here, if not all of us, have been slow to see how detachment is needed and we mess up.
    Setting boundaries/limits around ourselves makes perfect sense. I have heard it said that these boundaries/limits are often more for US than for the difficult children.
    I know husband and I got to the point (although drug is not the issue in our house) that we realize that our lives/sanity and future was at stake and frankly, nothing was going to stand in the way of these precious things. What else is there in life?
    Just like a difficult child....does my friend have to go down with the ship...or hit rock bottom to see the light?
    Al Anon (she attends) is helping a little. husband and I went to two meetings of FA and got the message loud and clear.
    We were ready for detachment mode and welcomed it with open arms.
    I do have mixed/conflicting feelings about requiring an addicted difficult child to go to counseling in order to stay in the home. It is controlling and kinda desperate. They should want to go.
    But, I suggested to her that since it is your house, you have every right to make the rules and she should set some rules/limits/boundaries up and she shouldn't budge on them and let one of them be for her adult child to attend AA and/or go to therapy. If AC1 choses NOT to go...too bad, so sad. The other rules can be basic: no using in the home, no abuse physical or emotional, etc. If AC1 can't follow the rules...then AC1 can be invited to live elsewhere.