Addictions and Their Impact: A Call for Compassion and Boundaries

Addictions and Their Impact: A Call for Compassion and Boundaries


Personal Reflection:

Coming from a long line of addiction, I've witnessed the destructive patterns in my family. While previous generations struggled with alcoholism, it wasn't until my generation that the harder drugs emerged, and addiction took a more prominent role in our lives. My sister, cousin, and I became the scapegoats and black sheep of the family. It's disheartening that our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents didn't recognize their own addictions and failed to understand their generational nature, but it was truly them doing the best they could with what they knew.

Personally, I don't fully agree that addiction is a disease. While there are many instances that this may be the case for some, I believe it stems from conditioning to cope with life in certain ways or as a result of trauma, coupled with someone introducing us to an escape from that headspace or simply learning from our predecessors. As I have unlearned these behaviours and become more self-aware, there is no need to self-medicate myself because I now fully understand why I became dependent on these substances in the fires of addiction and I have forgiven those before me, knowing that they didn’t know any different either. As a matter of fact, the thought of clouding my headspace after this arduous journey seems quite appalling.

Years ago, I set boundaries with my sister, and it was a difficult decision. However, with the love and support of my father, I managed to overcome my own battle with addiction to fentanyl almost twelve years ago without any form of harm-reduction medication, which is almost next to impossible these days with the new forms of opiates on the streets. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t have that luxury because our father passed away during her rock bottom, and she lacked the proper support, including from myself. She ended up homeless and with two surprise children after being a victim of human trafficking. It was a surprising turn of events when I found myself taking care of her children after not speaking to her for four years.

Now, I love my sister from a distance, waiting for her to reach out and showing her that support is available if she chooses to seek help and maintain sobriety. Setting boundaries within my family was crucial, but I failed to recognize that the most significant boundary I needed to establish was with my partner, who also grapples with addiction.

My partner has cycled through various and mostly legal substances, constantly seeking something new to numb his pain; whether it be women, erratic spending, drugs and alcohol, hoarding behaviour, pornography - you name it. His actions will have severe consequences as his hoarding behaviours from complex trauma are turning into accusations of embezzlement, theft and years of abuse, as I work through a trauma timeline with my therapist. Despite our safety plan spanning two years, he views my boundaries as threats and has spiralled even more out of control as I have stopped enabling and making excuses for him. Although I have obsessively studied his conditions as his codependent caretaker for the past decade, and completely understand why he is the way he is, my advocacy for human rights has taken a toll on my decisions.  As our time limit approaches, I find myself realizing that the only possible end to his addiction is either in “jails, institutions, or death,” as they tell us in Alcoholics Anonymous. This journey with him has educated me on the repercussions of untreated childhood trauma - especially when it comes to sexual assault in men when they were boys from older generations, where there was often no empathy for boys who were expected to act as “real men.” 

Addiction has profoundly impacted my life and my family. It has been a journey of navigating boundaries, seeking support, and understanding the complexities that addiction brings. While I hold on to hope for my sister and offer her a helping hand when she is ready, I must prioritize my own well-being and recognize that setting boundaries is crucial, even with those we love the most. This cycle is about to be finally broken for my family after years of fighting alone and having my voice silenced over family loyalty. If I had known that the abusive behaviours that accompanied addiction in my life were not typical in other families, I would have never knowingly endured a decade of co-dependency and abuse while ignoring my own little sister. This stops now.


Addiction is a complex issue that extends beyond just drugs or alcohol. It encompasses various aspects of human behaviour, including womanizing, obsessive-compulsive disorders, money-related compulsions, and more. In this blog, we delve into the profound effects of addiction, how it impacts individuals, families, and society, and the importance of setting boundaries while offering support.

The Only Way Addiction Ends:

According to numerous studies and experts in the field, addiction often requires individuals to confront the consequences of their actions on their own. It is through experiencing the full weight of their choices that many addicts find the motivation to seek help and make lasting changes. As difficult as it may be, allowing them to face the consequences can be a crucial step toward their recovery.

Supporting Addicts and Setting Boundaries:

When dealing with someone struggling with addiction, it is vital for their loved ones to understand the concept of codependency. Codependency occurs when individuals become enmeshed in the addict's life, often enabling their destructive behaviour. Breaking this cycle requires setting healthy boundaries and recognizing that addicts must take responsibility for their own recovery journey.

Helping Addicts and Self-Care:

While it is essential to support those battling addiction, it is equally important for friends and family members to prioritize their own well-being. Understanding the limits of one's influence and seeking help for themselves can foster a healthier environment for everyone involved. By focusing on personal growth and self-care, it becomes possible to provide more effective support to the addict in the long run.

The Changing Landscape of Interventions and Boundaries:

Traditional interventions and rigid boundaries may not always be the most effective approach. Some individuals resist feeling forced into recovery, and it is crucial to respect their autonomy. Instead, emphasizing empathy, understanding, and offering support without coercion can be more beneficial in encouraging lasting change, even though it proves to be difficult most times.

The Impact on Families:

Addiction has far-reaching consequences, particularly within families. Codependency, strained relationships, emotional turmoil, and financial burdens are just a few of the challenges faced by the loved ones of addicts. Recognizing the impact addiction has on families and seeking appropriate support systems can help address these effects and foster healing.

A Grim Reality:

As we conclude this discussion on addiction, it is important to acknowledge the harsh realities that can accompany it. The consequences of addiction can lead individuals down a path that intersects with jails, institutions, or even death. Understanding the gravity of the situation underscores the urgency of addressing addiction with compassion, support, and effective treatment options.


Addiction is an all-encompassing struggle that affects individuals, families, and society at large. By highlighting the complexities of addiction, fostering healthy boundaries, and seeking support for both the addict and their loved ones, we can work toward a future where compassion and understanding lead the way to recovery and healing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, here are some resources for Ontario residents:

1. Substance Addiction:

   - Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Offers support for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction in Ontario.

   - Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Provides meetings and support for individuals battling drug addiction in Ontario.

2. Gambling Addiction:

   - Gamblers Anonymous (GA): Offers support groups and resources for individuals dealing with gambling addiction in Ontario.

   - Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline: Provides confidential support and information for problem gamblers and their families in Ontario.

3. Sex and Love Addiction:

   - Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA): Offers meetings and support for individuals struggling with sex and love addiction in Ontario.

4. Pornography Addiction:

   - Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA): Provides support for individuals dealing with porn addiction in Ontario.

   - Covenant Eyes: An online accountability software that helps individuals overcome pornography addiction, available in Canada.

5. Shopping Addiction:

   - Debtors Anonymous (DA): Offers support for individuals experiencing compulsive spending and financial issues in Ontario.

6. Food Addiction:

   - Overeaters Anonymous (OA): Provides support for individuals struggling with compulsive eating and food addiction in Ontario.

7. Gaming Addiction:

   - Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline: Offers support and resources for individuals dealing with excessive gaming and gaming addiction in Ontario.

   - Child and Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS): Provides support and resources for young people struggling with gaming addiction in Ontario.

8. Online Recovery:

In The Rooms is a free online recovery tool that offers 130 weekly online meetings for those recovering from addiction and related issues. We embrace multiple pathways to recovery, including all 12 Step, Non-12 Step, Wellness and Mental Health modalities.

9. Codependency:

 - Al-Anon Family Groups

Remember, these are just a few examples of support groups and resources available in Ontario. It's always recommended to research and explore local resources or contact helplines specific to your location for more tailored assistance.

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