It can take some time to truly come to terms with living a life of sobriety — openly embracing this new and revolutionary lifestyle is a completely different story. Over time, your relationship with your recovery will change and evolve. Just like everything else it will experience some degree of ebb and flow. Some days you will wake up feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, fully aware of how far you have come and how immensely your life has improved. Other days you will face challenge after challenge, maybe wishing you could numb out uncomfortable emotions and throw progress to the wind. The human experience includes a full spectrum of emotions, and it is important to remember that ups and downs are completely normal; highs and lows are an unavoidable part of life. However, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the lows are a little less low than they might be otherwise.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from catastrophe down the road is by taking the necessary steps to protect your recovery. You have likely heard something along the lines of, “Your sobriety should be your top priority.” Or, “Everything you put before your recovery, you are ultimately going to lose.” There is a lot of truth to these statements. Fortunately, you can set healthy boundaries to protect your recovery, improving your overall quality of life and equipping you to better handle any challenge that comes your way. Contact us today to learn more.
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What is a “Healthy Boundary?”
“Boundary” has become a bit of a buzzword. There is a good chance that you have at least heard of personal boundaries in one context or another. But what exactly is a boundary, and how the heck do you go about setting a healthy one?
There are three distinct types of boundary:
- Rigid Boundaries — This type of boundary is overly strict and inflexible. A person with rigid personal boundaries will often avoid emotional intimacy in their interpersonal relationships. They will avoid getting too close to people, keeping their friends and family members at an arm’s length. They might seem detached, even from their romantic partners, and they likely have an extremely difficult time asking for help.
- Porous Boundaries — People with porous boundaries don’t have a firm grasp on what is appropriate to share and what is not — what is on their side of the street and what isn’t. A person with porous boundaries might regularly overshare, have a difficult time saying “no,” and seek constant validation from others. They might base their sense of self-worth on what others think of them, live in constant fear of rejection, and accept disrespect because they feel they don’t “deserve” better treatment.
- Healthy Boundaries — This type of boundary is not too rigid or too porous. A person with healthy boundaries will know when to say”no,” they will not compromise their own beliefs or values in order to please others, and they will express their needs in a direct and healthy way. A person with healthy boundaries typically has meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with other people.
Healthy Boundaries in the Context of Recovery
What does it mean to have healthy boundaries in the context of your recovery? Below are several examples. If you are interested in learning more about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, we encourage you to reach out to us at any point in time.
- If you are invited to a social event that revolves around alcohol and you are feeling unstable in your sobriety, setting a healthy boundary might be saying, “I appreciate the invite, but I have a personal obligation I need to take care of.” Instead of going to the party in order to make other people happy, you might choose to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting instead.
- If someone asks why you don’t drink, you don’t overshare or undershare — you share the amount of information that feels good to you. “I don’t drink because I have chosen not to,” or, “Avoiding alcohol is a personal decision I made several years ago, and it has been serving me well so far.” No matter what you choose to say, setting a healthy boundary is knowing that you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
- If you know that spending time with your family can be emotionally and mentally challenging for you, you might set a boundary by agreeing to have dinner with them once a week, regardless of how many times they invite you over. No need to tell them that spending time in their company triggers you; you might choose to say something like, “I have a very busy schedule at the moment, but spending time with you is important to me and I would love to have standing dinner plans one night a week.”
How to Set & Maintain a Healthy Boundary
The trick to setting and maintaining a healthy personal boundary pertaining to your sobriety will be made easier when you identify several important factors. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How many 12 Step meetings do I want to attend a week?
- What situations (people, places, things) are triggering to me?
- What does it look like to achieve healthy balance in my life?
- What level of anonymity do I want to maintain?
- If I am feeling spread too thin, do I Know how to say “no?”
Determining your comfort levels and what it will take to keep your sobriety solid is a great place to start. If you have any additional questions about the addiction treatment and recovery process, we are available to help.
Contact Us Today to Begin Your Personal Recovery Journey
If you or someone you love has been struggling with a substance use disorder of any kind, Intrepid Detox Residential is available to help. We have developed a comprehensive recovery program that covers multiple levels of clinical care, guiding clients through the treatment process and making sure they are set up for continued success in sobriety. In many cases, entering into a medical detox center is an important initial step, seeing as the physical symptoms associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable when unaddressed. Once a client has been physically stabilized they have the opportunity to transition into the residential portion of our clinical program, where they will continue to heal on a thorough basis. At Intrepid Detox Residential we believe that recovery is always possible as long as a person has access to quality addiction treatment options. To learn more about our treatment program or to begin your personal recovery journey, contact us today.