Do you have a hard time setting and following through with boundaries? You are certainly not alone. Many people who are recovering from addiction in Phoenix have a hard time establishing rules and expectations for themselves and others. However, in order to maintain lifelong abstinence, boundaries are critical.
The first step is to understand what healthy boundaries look like and why they are valuable. Essentially, there are two types of boundaries. External boundaries separate you from other people. You create them to determine what is okay and not okay in your relationships. Internal boundaries come from within. They help you manage the relationship you have with yourself.
The next step is to set external and internal boundaries for yourself. The goal is to support healthy relationships with yourself and others. Additionally, the boundaries you set should permeate all aspects of your life – family, friends, work, social activities, intimate relationships, etc.
10 Reasons Why Healthy Boundaries Matter in Recovery
Below are ten important reasons why establishing boundaries is important to preventing relapse in Phoenix.
Boundaries show respect for yourself and others.
Boundaries are what set you apart from your friends, family and other people. They prevent you from being negatively influenced and manipulated by others’ actions and behaviors. For example, just because one of your friends has certain beliefs does not mean you have to have them, too. You can be friends with someone and be able to respectfully share your opinions.
Personal boundaries protect your space and privacy.
You have the right to feel comfortable in your personal space. As an example, you may prefer a handshake to a hug. Or, you may not like public displays of affection from your partner. By letting others know what you like and don’t like, they can respect these wishes. Likewise, you need to be respectful of others’ personal space as well.
Good boundaries conserve your material possessions.
You get to choose what you do with the things you own. For instance, you may write in a private journal or lend money to a family member. What you do with your material possessions is your business. Establishing boundaries stops people from trying to tell you what to do with your belongings.
With boundaries, you own your personal thoughts and beliefs.
Your mind belongs to you and no one else. You get to decide what information comes in and what thoughts to think. For example, if watching the news is upsetting and causes you stress, you may choose not to avoid it. Or, you may pass over discouraging news articles on social media.
Another important thing to remember is that you have the right not to share your thoughts, opinions or beliefs. In fact, you may want to avoid discussing sensitive topics until you are stronger in your sobriety and better able to accept varying opinions.
Boundaries are a sign of self-love and self-care.
When you set internal boundaries, you are giving yourself the best gift: self-love and self-care. This may be hard at first, as you probably didn’t give yourself much love or compassion when you first started outpatient rehab. Now that you are moving forward in your recovery, you can look towards a brighter future. You get to choose what you eat, how often you exercise and who you spend your time with. You have agency over these decisions. They are yours alone.
Establishing boundaries protects you from abuse.
There are many types of abuse – mental, physical, emotional, sexual, etc. When you set healthy boundaries, you can recognize abuse of any kind and stop it from continuing. For example, you have the right to walk away from anyone who is abusing you. There may be people in your life who mistreat, intimidate or take advantage of you, and this won’t stop unless you speak up and set rules.
Internal boundaries make you responsible for your reactions.
Just as you can’t “make” people feel a certain way, you should not let others have the same effect on you. You are responsible for your own feelings and reactions. Over time, it will become easier to control your emotional responses. For now, taking a time out, practicing deep breathing techniques and reflecting on the issue at hand can help you respond more appropriately.
Spiritual practices strengthen your relationship with a higher power.
Spiritual practices encourage good spiritual health, which is important when recovering from addiction in Phoenix. Remember, spirituality is different from religion. You can be spiritual and not religious.
By participating in a 12-step program, you’ll learn that a higher power can be anyone or anything you want it to be. You may meet people who try to convert you or push their beliefs on you, but having good boundaries ensures you will not be influenced by them. Your beliefs belong to you, and by staying true to them, you can find comfort in your God.
Stable boundaries provide independence.
Boundaries are not limiting – they freeing! With boundaries, you are no longer a slave to what other people want you to think and feel. You don’t have to take emotional or physical abuse. You can love yourself and enjoy others according to your rules and expectations. This will help you become the best version of yourself possible.
Secure boundaries promote a strong work-life balance.
If you’ve had trouble in the past balancing work, school and family, setting boundaries will help with this. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with your rights in the workplace, as well as your job expectations. This will help you determine where to draw the boundaries, such as by not working at home on the weekends or staying late without pay.
Many people in early recovery have trouble setting boundaries because they don’t want to offend others or restrict themselves. However, establishing rules actually does the opposite. It grants you the freedom to be comfortable in your own skin and own your personal beliefs and values.
The best way to create good boundaries is by working with a neutral third party like a therapist or 12-step sponsor. Continuum Recovery Center can help with this process, as our holistic outpatient addiction treatment programs include individual and group therapy. Our clients learn the importance of boundaries, how to establish them and ways to follow through. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.