Coping Tips

Defining The Boundary

If the person wasn't using substances would you accept the behaviour? In other words it is important not to treat people differently just because they are substance users.

Know the distinction between them as a person and their behaviour. Even 'I' statements can be phrased in more positive ways on occasion. Note the difference between:

'I don't want you living at home when you're using!' and
'I don't want you to use drugs in our home!'

Using the 'using at home' example, the home and people within it may be safer if there is no use at home but the user may be at more risk if they then use outside the home. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' answer. Options and consequences have to be considered and each family may take different approaches. Child safety and protection should always be a serious consideration. The rights of young children need to be the most important element.


'Because you used at home twice last week I am going to look for alternative living arrangements for you' – rather than 'Because you used drugs last week you now have to go into rehab.'

Take your time and get it right. You can't change other people but you can change your response to them – which may in turn invite them to change.