How do I set boundaries with family?

Can you please tell me what scriptures, if any, that states when it’s acceptable to sever ties with parents. FYI “I love my parents.” My mom went to rehab for prescription drugs (hydrocodone) about 10 years ago. Now, for about the last 5 years, she’s hooked on opioids. She hurt my brother so bad, that he sold his house & moved. He says it’s my decision, but he thinks I should let her go for my on health. She has a lot of health problems. Most recently she broke her hip. When do I say enough. She hurts me so much with her WORDS & her actions. I know she’s had a very difficult life. Her first son died in prison from colon cancer. He was in prison for 23 years. Now she said my living brother is as dead to her as my living brother because he completely terminated all communications, for his health. It is so hard & sad for me to look at her a sleep (pill induced) knowing that she will probably die in that chair. I know how hard it can be to get clean. I have been an alcoholic all my life. I just passed my 3 years of sobriety. BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, I’ve been sober since 3/15/16. That was my third 30 day rehab. First time I was sober & could remember my birthday. I turned 46. I don’t even know if my mother could make it through detox at the age of 76. She won’t listen to me. Something came on tv about Scientology and I said how wrong that was & my mother said to me ‘every one has the right to believe in whatever they choose. I have been saved & once saved always saved.” I tried to tell her that’s not always true. She said she could believe wanted & I could believe what I wanted and stop talking about it so we wouldn’t argue about it. Then when we went to church she asked a friend that’s been going to our church for at least 20 years and my mother believed her. She kinda apologized, but it didn’t bring about any change that I could see. Hopefully it planted a seed. She has been good to help me financially. I feel like such a bum. I always tell her how thankful I am. ALWAYS!! I wouldn’t take the money if for one minute I thought it would have put them in a bind!! I have lupus, hypothyroidism and on disability for depression. I started receiving disability checks for 1,152.00 in June of 2018. Once again all the glory to God. Please let me know what and where the scriptures are located to make a decision. Thank you and may God bless your whole ministry. I listen to Ravi almost every day. I’ll be listening to him and look at the clock and realize 3 hours have passed. Sometimes I don’t understand exactly because I am only a high school graduate, but for the most part I get the jest of it. GLORY TO GOD!!! And thank you for your help and work also!


@Babychristian Thank you for sharing your struggle :slight_smile: Setting boundaries can be difficult and every situation is different, so I think the best thing to do would be to discuss the issue with a Christian counselor. However, there is a great book by Henry Cloud that may equip you to think wisely about your decision.

Praying that Jesus would keep you safe, provide healing and, in His grace and mercy, heal broken lives :slight_smile:


Thank you for the book suggestion​:slightly_smiling_face:and for all that RZIM’s ministry accomplishments. I love watching Mr. Zacharias on YouTube, that’s how I found RZIM. There is just something about him that I know I can trust. His words are backed up by scriptures & his communication is so respectful and kind. I will try to find someone I can talk to. I live in a small town. Our church is down to about 10 people & we don’t even have a preacher! I’m assuming there’s no particular scriptures that apply to my circumstances. Thank all of you for your work. I hope God keeps blessing RZIM!!!:pray::blush:.


Hi, @Babychristian! I’m celebrating your 3 years of sobriety with you while also mourning the physical and emotional state your mother finds herself in. It’s so heartbreaking.

When you ask for Bible verses that speak into your situation, the first one that comes to mind is:

Honour your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. [Exodus 20:12]

‘Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. [Deuteronomy 5:16]

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’– which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ [Ephesians 6:1-3]

This is an extremely difficult verse to put into practice for those whose father and mother have been abusive and neglectful. Really, I have no idea what it means for you (or what it would look like for you) to honour your mother in the state she is in. I have no idea where you should draw the boundaries and where you should continue to love her even if she rejects it. But maybe this could be a recurring question you ask God: How can I honour my mom right now, in this moment? How can I show her the love that You, God, have shown me? God’s love is radical, and His love is what we all need! No one is beyond hope.

Praying for you and your family! :pray:


God love your heart. I am sorry to hear about the difficulty dealing with your mom. Thank God for your sobriety and you connecting here.

There are many scriptures that you are aware I am sure. Love your parents. Matt. 19:19. I know you love her. But now how to protect you. First never stop doing good or stop praying for her. Galatians 6:9 Prayer is a defenseless weapon. Second, guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23.

When you continue to be positively affecting those you are praying for and coming alongside don’t stop helping however when those you are praying for start infecting you negatively caution is advised. Even the disciples had to move on when they were not positively affecting those they ministered to. Matt. 10:13-14.

The “Boundaries” book is good. But, I pray today that you are protected from emotional pain, that the Lord grant you discernment to know what to say and do, and that you positively affect those you minister to. Thank you for allowing us to come alongside you but more importantly thank you for coming alongside us. God bless you and your journey.


Hello @Babychristian I am sad to hear how broken your heart is. I am thankful and proud for your sobriety, congratulations!
I just wanted to let you know that I am lifting you and family up in prayer this morning. I have had many loved ones who struggled with addiction and it is extremely difficult to stay positive in those situations. It is vital that you spend time in prayer. I journal mine. This releases a lot of anxiety when I am faced with overwhelming circumstances. Pray scripture for you and your mom. If you have someone who will agree with you pray
Matthew 18:19-20
Philippians 1:19 and __Philippians 4:4-8__ is always my go to.
Also, I heard Naomi Zacharias talk about the disciples who lowered the man down through the roof in Luke 5:17-39, It was __their__ faith that got the man to Jesus and he was healed.
Intercessory prayer is the only way to help your mom. She is not in her right mind since our adversary wants her to stay where she is.
I agree with @Keldon_Scott, you have to guard your heart and a good Christian Counselor could be vital.
The book @SeanO is a good book. And the scriptures @KMac gave you are good for teaching us to honor our parents.
This is spiritual warfare. Pray, Pray, Pray :pray: It may seem to get worse before it gets better. I have learned this, the times I have refrained from saying what I wanted to say, and trusting in God to do the work for me, I saw amazing things happen to the loved ones who were not only hurting themselves but also hurting others.
@Melvin_Greene may be able to advise you here as well.
God bless :heart:


@Babychristian Hang in there. God is with you. Stand on His promises.
James 1:2-3:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Are you actively involved in a community like AA or Al-anon? Is there a source in your small town? If not, perhaps there is a virtual community. will certainly be a good resource for practical information about setting boundaries.

Meanwhile, I’ll be praying that God builds within you the means to filter out hateful and discouraging speech from your Mother, and a greater love and devotion for her, despite these circumstances, than you ever thought possible.

We all celebrate your sobriety and pray that God will build from this foundation a mighty woman of God, filled with His light an love.


Thank you so much for caring. I tried the AA in my town at first, but too many times I was the only one to show up? At one meeting I was actually told that my sobriety was so new, that I should just sit and don’t talk, “I had nothing to offer”. So I shared my new sobriety with all of my coworkers & members (at the time I was working at a country club selling liquor):crazy_face:, and all of my friends that drank. In my eyes that held me accountable. During my 5 years of working there, 2 people died from an over dose. One of which I voiced my concerns (my boss’s son) and with in 2 weeks he was found dead in his apartment. Two other men that had to withdraw their memberships and go to rehab to save their families. My ex-boss is waiting on a liver. His wife died only a week ago and his only other son is still drinking. Two of us talked to this man before his first son died but…hopefully we planted a seed :pray:. He has since been fired for embezzlement. The same two of us tried to let the board know about this a year earlier and they didn’t want to hear about it? I’m sorry to ramble, I’ve learned only GOD can change people’s heart if they ask! I must confess, “I have fallen off the wagon”! This is the MIRACLE in my life, the few times that I did try to drink it was only for one night. I didn’t get it the first time or the second time I drank to get drunk :woozy_face:. It was the third time that I realized “I couldn’t get drunk”! I know that I know GOD and only GOD could do that for me! At first I was asking myself why me? I quit asking and thank GOD for my blessing! Can I get an AMEN? AMEN! Now, with GOD teaching me, I do my best to walk the talk and be more patient with everyone, especially my family. Just two days ago, I learned I can’t try to shove my beliefs down people’s (my dad’s) throats! Slow my roll, try to plant a seed and let GOD do what only GOD can do! Thank you again for caring about me. If I can ever help you in anyway, I will gladly! I am 59 and have wasted so much of my life, hence the name “baby Christian”. GOD BLESS YOU!!


Leaning on God in all things is sooooo good!

There can be generational issues with substance abuse. It sounds as though there is a lot of pain in your family (forgive me if I’m overstepping). Getting sober and doing the very hard work of staying that way can give hope to your family members when they see the changes in your life.

Get yourself a Celebrate Recovery Bible. There are many helps in that book to keep you on track. I can’t find an active Celebrate Recovery online program. But AA and Al-Anon do have online groups. These programs can be such an important part of recovery because they help you find the deep seated pain that causes an addict to self-medicate. Finding those places of pain are important in the healing process–it’s like letting air get to a wound.

We can’t hide from God, but too often we hide from ourselves. It’s not that God can’t heal uncovered woundings, but he uses the process of us finding these wounds to teach us to stop hiding from the truth.

You mentioned you’ve been through rehab, have you done a 12-step program before? Did it help?

Even if your town doesn’t have a viable AA meeting for you, can you think of a recovered alcoholic in town that might help you walk the path to sobriety? Being accountable to a sponsor is helpful and important and a recovered and sober alcoholic knows where you’ve been and won’t let you hide from the truth.

Lord, we pray right now that You will provide Tina Jo with the right person(s) to help her on this path. Let her heart grow in devotion and her mind in knowledge of You and your Word. One step at a time be her hope, her strength, her courage. Help her feel so full of your love that it overflows to the whole world. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the name above ALL names. AMEN.


Here is your AMEN @Babychristian! God bless you! I am in agreement with @Jennifer_Judson.


Amen! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your struggles and victories. Still lifting you up in prayer :pray:t3: