Boundaries help you know where you start and another person ends. You are responsible for yourself. They are responsible for them. It sounds simple. But when you’re suffering from addiction, it can become difficult to identify the boundary lines.
You may feel responsible for someone else’s happiness or be unable to say, “no.” Then you feel resentment. You might sacrifice your personal values to avoid ridicule because you feel that how people see you are who you really are.
Setting healthy boundaries can be a life-altering experience. It’s freeing. But it’s not easy at first. This guide will help you develop boundaries in addiction recovery.
Realize We All Have Boundaries
Everyone has to the personal limits to which they will go before they say, “enough.” So recovery boundaries are natural.
Even the most laid-back dog in the world will bite if you hurt it. Fortunately for humans, we can communicate before it gets to that point. And the more effectively you communicate boundaries, the less you’ll feel the need to lash out.
In other words, it’s not selfish to have boundaries or say “no,” and you’ll need to learn to say it a lot when managing addiction recovery. You can choose to say “yes” sometimes when something doesn’t compromise your values. But that’s your choice.
Know What Your Values Are
Do you love your family and want to build a relationship with them? Do you want to be kind to others and share when you are able? Those are values. Hard work, managing your addiction, living healthy, being honest about your feelings–these are all values.
Start a list of what’s really important to you. Then you’ll know if someone asks you to do something that goes against these values, that’s a boundary you don’t want to cross.
Listen to Your Gut
Listening to your gut doesn’t mean it’s always right. But it’s always worth being mindful. Feelings of anger, agitation, or frustration are often signs that you aren’t setting boundaries.
Often, you can actually feel these emotions in your gut as a physical sensation. For example, you may feel discomfort in the gut when someone is pushing you to do something you don’t feel right about.
But you need to use some logic to figure out if you’re conflicted just because you don’t want to do it. For example, maybe you don’t want to get out of bed and take your kids to school. Or is it in conflict with your priorities?
Use Straightforward Communication
Sometimes, “no” is all you need to say. But other times, it’s best to give them a little more.
Setting down boundaries can be misunderstood by others, particularly if you haven’t had good boundaries previously. If the people around you have never learned about boundaries, you may seem “mean.”
For example, if you need some time to reset, you might go to your room and lock the door. It may seem obvious to you that you need a little time to meditate or relax. But those around you could feel shut out of your life, even if it’s for 15 minutes. They could also think you’re going in there to use.
Simple, straightforward communication takes the guesswork out of it. Communicate your needs and intention.
Many people learned to override their sense of boundaries in childhood and continue to struggle with this. Boundaries can be particularly hard in homes where loved ones suffered from mental health, addiction, or chronic illness.
Setting and maintaining boundaries is one of the many useful skills you’ll learn and practice in recovery sessions that include things like:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy and counseling
- Dual diagnosis care
- Depression care and treatment
- Recovery coaching program
Are poorly-defined boundaries twisting your gut and compelling you to do things against your values and priorities? There’s a safe place where you can work on them and recover. Call us at 855.786.1978 to learn more.