Setting Boundaries in Life and Recovery

Setting Boundaries in Life and Recovery

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Boundaries, everyone needs them in life. In fact, setting boundaries is a part of everyday life, but having boundaries is especially important when in recovery. Though boundaries are important throughout recovery, they are most important in early recovery. The necessary thing about boundaries is that they are a two way street. This means that you not only must have boundaries, but respect the boundaries of others. This can be a challenge because while most people are comfortable setting their own boundaries, they are not as good at respecting those of others. However, this is an important part of boundaries since if you expect others to respect your limits; you must respect theirs as well.

Establishing boundaries can prevent someone from being taken advantage of or manipulated. It can also help define relationships more clearly and prevent codependency. Boundaries help protect a person from conscious or unconscious harm while at the same time encouraging people to trust their inner voice. This also helps you and others to communicate needs, wants, and desires more clearly to others and allow others to do the same for you. When you have unhealthy boundaries you risk sacrificing personal values and allowing yourself to feel guilty for saying no. Or allowing others to define your boundaries for you. If others define your boundaries then they may decide things for you that you are not truly comfortable with in your life. In contrast, healthy boundaries require a person to consider what is best for them. If you set your own boundaries then they are truly for you. It can be a positive part of your life.

To set healthy boundaries in your life you must  first decide what you truly want out of life and what you are comfortable with as far as other people are concerned.  Consider your personal values and feelings. For example, if you are okay having friends that drink, but do not want them to drink in your presence or in your  home then this is a boundary you need to make clear.

Trust your instincts when setting boundaries.

If you are truly not comfortable with an activity or a person, then set strong boundaries with that person or remove them completely from your life. If that boundary is being pushed then remove yourself from the situation and then completely remove that person from your life until they can become respectful of that boundary. Finally, be prepared to defend your boundaries. You are setting boundaries for your own health and well-being. Defend your boundaries as something that is good for you and expect others to do the same with their boundaries. It can be difficult to defend your boundaries with friends, especially old friends with whom you are setting new boundaries. But it is imperative for your well-being and recovery. This may mean you need to focus on developing relationships with sober peers while also taking care of yourself.

So start immediately by thinking about what boundaries you need to put in place. Write them out and practice sharing them with those in your life. It may be difficult, but your recovery is worth the effort.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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