Setting Boundaries in Sobriety
Individuals work very hard to establish their sobriety, and certain steps need to be taken in order to protect it. One of these steps is setting boundaries.
Most people learn about boundaries in their childhood homes. Some families have no identifiable boundaries, and children can get older without ever learning how to set their own limits or respect other people’s. Other homes may have strict boundaries, leading a person to be unable to express themselves. Setting boundaries in sobriety is essential for the person in recovery and for their loved ones.
People suffering from addiction tend to have weak boundaries. When finding, obtaining, and consuming substances has become the only goal, there is no room for healthy interactions or relationships. Now that maintaining lifelong sobriety has become the goal, we must learn how to form and maintain solid relationships.
So how does a person go about setting boundaries in sobriety?
Here are some excellent pointers:
Listen to your gut. Are you uncomfortable around a certain person, place, or situation? You not only have the right to remove yourself, but you also have the power to take control of your personal surroundings.
Decide what you want/need, and ask for it clearly. Consider what your true feelings and thoughts are and make them known to the other person.
Finding your voice isn’t always easy, but it is imperative.
Learn how to say “No.” It sounds simple, but often we have to learn how to say to “No” to people. When we are afraid to anger someone or hurt their feelings, we wind up signing up for things we know we don’t want to do.
Accept the importance of your needs. Early recovery is not an easy time, and everyone in your life, no matter how much they support you, doesn’t necessarily understand this. Your priorities will be different than they have ever been, and it’s okay to take care of yourself. You don’t have to explain yourself to everyone, but rather let them know you are doing what you need to do to take care of you.
As people in recovery, setting and maintaining positive limits with the people in our lives is indispensable.
Setting boundaries in sobriety is also about respecting other people’s boundaries. Relationships are a two-way street, so to speak. When we learn how to communicate with others about our thoughts, feelings, and needs, we are able to participate in a healthy relationship.
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