1. Catch Him at his Best.
Reward pleasant, non-drinking, drug-free behaviour. Use positive
acknowledgment – make the good times great!
2. Withdraw when He’s Using or Been Using.
Take yourself away to enjoy something pleasant on your own or with a
friend. Do not engage in battle. Let him experience your absence when
he chooses to drink/use drugs. Be clear about your reason for doing so.
3. Allow Natural Consequences.
It is not your job to rescue him or to enable his addiction to stay the
same. You do not clean up after, makes excuses for or provide resources
for him to cushion the effects of drinking/using drugs. Safety is
paramount – intervene if his safety is threatened, e.g. driving while
intoxicated or some other risky behaviour. Otherwise – allow him to feel
the uncomfortable consequences of drug or alcohol use.
With the exception of incidents where someone’s safety is a concern
(ambulance, Police or Crisis Team may be necessary), the above
framework may provide an opportunity for your person to recognise a
need for change. If we, as family members, praise and encourage where
praise is due, walk away from negative situations and tension, and resist
the urge to rescue our person from the negative consequences of their
drinking or drug use, positive change may occur. At very least, this way
of interacting with our drinking or drug-using loved one will reduce some
of the stress we have been experiencing.
Putting boundaries in place is done with love for our self and our person
and with hope for a better future for us both.