I love my Dad, but my husband and I have had it with his drug addiction. We were letting him live with us to help him out. He’s been in and out of recovery. We were hoping he could make a go of it this time but he relapsed again, so we kicked him out.
Now I can’t bring myself to take his calls or talk to him, I’m so mad at him. I worry about him because I don’t even know where he’s living. He could be on the streets for all I know.
How can I be there for him while setting limits for myself and protecting my family?
Setting limits is necessary when dealing with an addicted family member, so you needed to kick him out if he was disrupting your own family life. Don’t allow yourself to go down the path of feeling guilty for kicking him out. And, don’t feel guilty for not taking his calls for the time being.
I know that sounds harsh and uncaring, but I’m sure your intention to distance from him is only temporary. If you set down rules for his living with you and he violated them, then the consequences for his poor choices are his to endure. Maybe this little piece of tough love from you and your family will help him get focused again on his recovery.
I’m sure you realize that relapse is a part of addiction, so expect more relapses on his journey toward recovery. In trying to be there for him, start with deciding on your personal limits. Talk with your husband and make some decisions on what you can and can’t do to help your Dad. Set some hard limits on what you absolutely will not allow, such as, drugs in your home. Or, his being around your children when he’s using.
Make your own health and well-being, and that of your immediate family members, your number one priority. Learn what you can about helping a family member with an addiction. Join a support group or seek counseling. This is tough stuff you’ve been dealt!
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• What boundaries do you need to set in your relationship with your Dad?
• What time frame do you set for yourself to start implementing these boundaries?
• What can you do to support him that will not leave you feeling “put-out”?
• What does he do that makes you the angriest?
• How can you minimize your involvement in that part of his life?
• What do you have to do to take care of yourself in this situation?
Any addiction specialist who’s reading this please feel free to share your expertise! We learn from each other.
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