The road to recovery from addiction isn’t paved, meaning you’ll encounter – and have to deal with – a lot of bumps and potholes along the way. As such, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial to staying on track during treatment and beyond. To this end, browse or see Mcshin Foundation website for resources to help in your recovery journey.
Basically, boundaries are meant to protect you from getting hurt. So, if you have a history of being exploited or abused, boundaries can help keep you safe. Essentially, they allow you to set the ground rules for interacting with others or functioning around them. Why are healthy boundaries so crucial in addiction recovery? Let’s discuss a few key reasons, including tips to set and maintain them:
Creating a Sense of Self
Addiction has a way of blurring our sense of self. As a result, we may feel like our substance abuse defines us or that we’re not in control of our lives. Therefore, healthy boundaries help us to recreate a sense of self. They help us see where we end and others begin, which is crucial to maintaining our sobriety and sanity. With boundaries in place and by embracing your authentic self, you can:
- Handle responsibility.
- Evaluate the consequences of your misdeeds.
- Take remedial steps to improve your life and relationships.
- Reduce the likelihood of being manipulated or taken advantage of by others.
Healthy boundaries also help to protect us from relapse. If we’re constantly putting ourselves in situations where we’re exposed to drugs or alcohol, it’s only a matter of time before we give in to temptation. But if we set clear boundaries – like avoiding places or people that trigger our cravings – we’re much less likely to relapse.
Promoting Emotional Healing
Many people who are addicted have a history of trauma or abuse. As such, they often struggle with emotional wounds that have never been adequately healed. Without healthy boundaries, these emotional wounds can quickly reopen, which can set back our recovery. But by setting boundaries, we can protect ourselves from further hurt and begin the process of emotional healing.
Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries
So, how do you go about setting healthy boundaries? Here are a few pointers to make your task easier:
Clarify Your Values
Why are you planning to set boundaries? What are your core values? Having the right answers to these queries can help you better define your boundaries. For instance, if you value honesty and kindness, you may want to prohibit people from being dishonest or rude to you.
By taking time to identify or note down your guiding principles, you can make the boundary-setting process much more manageable. And once your values are in place, you can set about to protect or guard them. Essentially, establishing the tenets you value most helps you draw the line between what you can and cannot tolerate.
Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. If someone is crossing your boundaries, let them know clearly and concisely. And that also means being direct. In short, avoid mincing your words with the hope of not hurting other people’s feelings. Otherwise, people may misconstrue what you imply, leaving you feeling frustrated.
By communicating your intentions, others can make more informed decisions about their interactions with you. Even if you’re dealing with someone who knows you well, they probably have no idea what you want. So, take the initiative to fill them in on your boundaries – but do so politely. In short, don’t make assumptions.
Set Realistic Boundaries
Be realistic when setting boundaries. It’s the only way to ensure you can enforce them. There’s no point in establishing a boundary you can’t or won’t stick to. For instance, if you’re defining your relationship with a friend who’s a chronic gossiper, you may need to limit the amount of time you spend with them or the topics you discuss.
Otherwise, you’ll likely feel frustrated and powerless. And if that happens, you could start to resent the boundary you’ve set, making it harder to stick to in the future. Plus, mounting frustration may cause you to revert to your old habits – addiction – to cope. So, again, be realistic when setting boundaries and be willing to make adjustments as needed.
Healthy boundaries are essential in addiction recovery. Without them, we’re more likely to relapse and less likely to heal emotionally. But by drawing the line – and being assertive about our limits – we can protect ourselves and promote our recovery.
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