When we search for behaviors surrounding substance abuse, we will likely find evidence that points to a lack of boundaries. A boundary could also be called a limit or a dividing line, which lies between what is acceptable for you and what is not.
Before seeking treatment, this may not be a concept that we knew about, and learning to set boundaries for ourselves and others is a skill that often takes time and energy. While it can feel daunting, learning to set and adhere to our boundaries is important to our recovery.
Boundaries Throughout Recovery
While in treatment, we have to work through narratives that have existed through our time of substance abuse. Within these narratives, there is often a common theme: a lack of structure that helps us make choices that are good for us. During treatment, we have to learn to set and adjust boundaries to create a new flow of our story.
These boundaries may change throughout treatment and recovery, depending on what we need. For instance, there may be times that we will need to set strict boundaries with some people in our lives if we know that spending time with them is going to disrupt our recovery. However, this boundary may change at a later date as we grow more comfortable in ourselves and the people around us grow and change as well.
The Importance of Boundaries
If boundaries are new, they are likely to be very uncomfortable. At 449 Recovery, we emphasize independence, and boundaries play an important role in attaining and maintaining independence.
When we are ready for change, creating and maintaining limitations for ourselves and those in our life can help us feel like our own person in charge of our own life. We get to choose what we do and choose the people who we surround ourselves with. These choices can help us foster autonomy from others who may influence us in a way that is not conducive to our recovery.
Choosing What Boundaries We Set
The first step of understanding what boundaries are helpful for us is self-reflection and compassion. If we haven’t made boundaries in the past, it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge what boundaries are important to us. This takes recognizing how we feel in different situations.
For example, do we like it when someone hugs us, or would we rather they not touch us? Either is okay, and it’s okay if we do not know yet. It can take time to learn about ourselves to discover what boundaries we need and want to set. Prioritizing what we want instead of being swayed into a situation that goes against what we want for ourselves and our lives is essential to recovery success.
Boundaries With Others
There are multiple kinds of boundaries we can set with others. These include:
This type of boundary addresses the space between us and others. The desired amount of personal space will differ from person to person and may change depending on the situation. Some may want and need more physical space, and a boundary helps address this need.
Setting physical boundaries is important to help us feel safe. Some people may overstep our boundaries, and this is not okay. Our personal space is valuable, and we have the right to decide who enters this space.
Emotional boundaries are more difficult to define, as it is not as simple as the line of personal space we need. Instead, emotional boundaries require us to separate how we feel vs. how someone else feels.
Setting an emotional boundary may mean saying no to an invitation, saying yes to help, or asking someone to speak to us differently due to not liking their tone or what they are saying. Understanding and setting emotional boundaries is a skill that takes time and practice, which treatment facilities can help us learn.
Boundaries With Ourselves
Just like with others, it is important to acknowledge our boundaries within ourselves. This may look like taking time to decern what is healthy for us, separate from others.
For example, perhaps we have found ourselves looking for distractions during recovery, which could look like watching a lot of television or movies. Deciding whether this is healthy for us and what our boundaries are for our behavior is important.
If we feel reluctant to make boundaries with ourselves or others, it can be helpful to remember they are not permanent. Instead, the goal of a boundary is to honor our own needs, taking responsibility for ourselves both within and with others. We get to decide what is healthy for us, and boundaries can help improve self-respect and self-esteem to create a better life and aid recovery.
Setting boundaries within yourself and others can help improve the overall quality of life and the recovery process. You deserve to make choices that are healthy for you, which may mean drawing a line in the sand for yourself and others. These choices are not easy; it takes time to discover what boundaries are helpful and important for you. Having support, community, and structure can help in this process. At 449 Recovery, we can help you recover from mental health disorders and addiction and learn to set boundaries that aid your recovery. Our team of professionals focuses on your needs and can help you heal the mind, body, and spirit. Our program can help you learn the skills needed to cope with daily life. Call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449 to learn more about how we can help you recover and set boundaries.