Healthy boundaries are very often lost during periods of prolonged drug or alcohol abuse, but it is necessary to re-establish them during addiction recovery. Setting and protecting your boundaries means being clear about what or who is acceptable in your life and what or who is not. Setting limits can include physical limits, such as choosing not to go certain places or staying away from persons you decide are not healthy for your sobriety. They can also include emotional limits, such as refusing to enter into negative discussions that bring about painful memories, at least until you’ve progressed further in your recovery program.
Learn more about how to set boundaries in addiction recovery and reach out to an addiction treatment center near you today.
Tips for Setting Addiction Recovery Boundaries
Every relationship should have some limits, and this includes setting boundaries for yourself, family, friends, coworkers, and even your boss. Setting recovery boundaries can help you establish guidelines in many areas of your life, including how you spend your time, what behavior is appropriate for you and others around you, and how much mental and/or emotional intensity you are willing to take on. Setting limits doesn’t mean you opt-out of life, because life often requires one to tackle both good and bad circumstances and people. It only means you are willing to protect your sobriety by protecting how much others will influence your actions, your thoughts, your opinions, and your personal space.
Personal limits help define who you are and are often invaded when someone invades your personal space. This could be your physical space or your mental and emotional space. Learning to say no is the best way to avoid being manipulated into behaviors that are unacceptable. Many recovering clients have toxic relationships that may need to be modified or eliminated entirely. Learn to read the tell-tale signs that indicate your personal boundaries are being shattered, and you might want to consider saying “no”:
- Physical signs – Stomach is in a knot, excessive sweating are physical indications that the situation may not be right
- Emotional signs – When you start feeling overwhelmed, angry, or resentful can be a sign that your personal space is being invaded
- Mental signs – Thoughts become confused, you may feel manipulated or rushed into a decision are signs of mental stress
Setting firm personal limits can be most difficult with family and friends. For example, a client in early sobriety may need to say “no” to functions that involve drinking or the use of narcotic substances. But, knowing that your sobriety is more important and standing by your decision is an example of setting good personal boundaries.
Be True to Yourself and Your Beliefs in Addiction Recovery
Think about what behaviors, ideologies, goals, and principles are important to you and stand by them no matter what. We often lose sight of ourselves during active addiction, but in recovery, it is our responsibility to stand firm for what we believe. This way you can practice respecting yourself, and you’re more aware when others are being disrespectful. If an environment is not in line with your beliefs, then you can choose to remove yourself from the out-of-bounds situation.
Be Clear About Your Feelings
It can be difficult to assert oneself during early recovery, but it is necessary to share how you feel about other’s behaviors or attitudes. While you don’t have control over what others do, by speaking up and sharing how you feel, you are enforcing clear internal and external boundaries that support self-confidence and self-love. Remember, you are entitled to your feelings, and so is everyone else. Being upfront and clear about emotional feelings and mental stress simply defines how far you are willing to allow others to affect you negatively.
Contact Fresh Start Recovery Center Today
As time goes on, you’ll be better able to trust yourself in difficult situations, and the setting of recovery boundaries will become second nature. Contact Fresh Start Recovery Center at 833.625.0398 to learn more about our alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs in Maryland and about how to set boundaries in recovery.