Setting Boundaries in Recovery
During recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction, part of staying sober is learning to set boundaries. Setting boundaries in recovery can help you make good choices and avoid people and situations that may put you on the wrong path. As you’re setting boundaries in recovery, you’ll learn when you need to say no and when you need to adjust your behavior. It can help you decide how you want to live your life, who you want to be, and how to take responsibility for your actions.
How Can I Set Boundaries in Recovery?
Setting boundaries in recovery is not about putting yourself in a bubble so that no one can hurt you. Doing this is not going to help you live in the real world where temptations exist. Instead, it’s about knowing how to create safe limits to let yourself grow.
One way to do this is to first think about how you want to be treated. What things are acceptable and what things are off the table? Jot down some ideas so that you can begin to internalize them and accept them. One boundary that needs to be on the list is that you will not allow yourself to be the victim of any physical or mental abuse. This is one boundary that should be non-negotiable.
Once you know how you want to be treated, set limits. This may mean only hanging out with sober people because choosing to be around those who drink or do drugs present a temptation. Perhaps setting limits means not associating with people when they’re angry or yelling. By not allowing yourself to interact when people are acting this way, you are also setting a boundary.
Setting boundaries in recovery can also help you adjust your behavior in certain situations. You don’t need to isolate yourself; you need to learn what your new limits are.
For example, you want to attend a family wedding, but know there’s going to be the right amount of drinking. You can still choose to go, but you can set a boundary that you’re not going to drink, and if things get out of control, you’ll leave. A big part of setting boundaries in recovery is learning how to do interact with others while staying true to your new lifestyle and beliefs.
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What Happens When You Set Boundaries in Recovery?
When you set boundaries, you begin to feel better about yourself. You’ve set rules about how you want to be treated and how you want to live your life. This can boost feelings of self-confidence and bring feelings of clarity.
Setting boundaries can also help you to resist temptation and remain on your road to sobriety. Learning to say no is also a big part of setting boundaries. You’re no longer doing things to please other people. You’re putting yourself first, which is a huge step in recovery.
You’ll also realize that you’re taking more responsibility for your actions because you’ve set the boundaries as to how you’re going to live your life. As all of these pieces come together, you’ll begin to live a healthier lifestyle. Setting boundaries is an essential part of the recovery process if you want all of your hard work to pay off.
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we help people make healthy choices and teach them how to set boundaries in recovery. To start, you need to choose to get the help you need to battle your drug or alcohol addiction. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we have counselors available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have as you make this critical decision. Call us today or contact us online so that you can start living a healthier life.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.