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Setting Boundaries in Recovery


Setting boundaries in addiction recovery is essential for helping recovering addicts sustain their sobriety and establish healthy relationships. Aside from withdrawal symptoms and cravings, arguably the most difficult aspect of recovery is simply getting used to being sober and the changes that come with the transition. Most importantly, however, it’s the people you spend time with after rehab that can make a significant impact on your recovery. For this reason, our California detox center is sharing some tips on setting boundaries in recovery.

Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Personal boundaries are physical and/or emotional limits that people set for themselves to safeguard their well-being. Healthy boundaries help people define who they are and ensure their emotional, mental, and physical safety. Unhealthy boundaries, on the other hand, are thoughts or behaviors used to manipulate or control relationships with others.

If you’re working on your sobriety, setting healthy limits in recovery can truly benefit your progress. The transition from addiction to rehab to a sober life often requires much change. With changes in relationships and who we spend time with being two that can require the most change. Recovering addicts must often choose between their abstinence and years-long friendships with individuals who encouraged their substance abuse.

In addition to these individuals, you may also have to cope with people who ask too many questions about your recovery or those who mean well but don’t know how to properly support you. Therefore, you may have to set limits for these individuals to ensure your mental well-being.

On that note, below are some tips for setting boundaries in recovery that can help you stay sober and maintain healthy relationships:

  • Decide your motive behind the boundary: Why do you feel setting this limit is important? Does it address a problem you repeatedly encounter with others in your recovery? Does it contribute to a personal goal?
  • Don’t share what you don’t want to: Many people are going to ask you numerous questions about your addiction and recovery. Remember that you don’t have to share everything, especially if you aren’t comfortable doing so.
  • Address your personal relationships: Most boundaries are set within relationships to ensure that certain lines aren’t crossed. For instance, you may have parents or a parent who mean(s) well but tends to ask too many questions or can be overbearing. It's important to set limitations so they respect your space.
  • Remember that you aren’t responsible for the feelings of others: Many times, our actions are motivated by how they’ll affect others. While it’s important to consider how others feel when we act to avoid causing hurt, it’s equally important to remember that we can’t control how others feel or interpret things. For instance, if you tell an old drinking buddy that you’d rather not hang out at a bar because you’re sober and they get mad, then that’s out of your control. You have no reason to feel sorry about it.
  • Stay firm: The moment you start to waver with upholding your boundaries is the moment relapse becomes a more likely problem. No matter how upset someone might get with you or how much someone might convince you to change your ways, don’t change your boundaries if they’re contributing to your sobriety and ability to sustain better relationships.

Examples of Good Boundaries for Addiction Recovery

By setting healthy limitations during recovery from addiction, you can protect and be a better version of yourself as you heal and move forward. Below are some examples of boundaries you can set in recovery:

  • Personal boundaries: These refer to limitations set to protect your physical, emotional, and mental health. Some examples of personal boundaries include limiting the amount of time you spend with certain people, limiting your screen time, or restricting the amount of work you do in a day.
  • Relational boundaries: These boundaries help you establish and maintain healthy relationships. Examples of relational boundaries include communicating clearly and honestly with others, respecting each other’s opinions and feelings, and holding yourself accountable for your actions.
  • Social boundaries: These are limits meant to help you navigate social situations that could possibly trigger a relapse. Examples of social boundaries include avoiding people or places that may trigger cravings, avoiding or limiting time spent with people who may encourage substance use, and leaving social events early if you feel uncomfortable or triggered.
  • Professional boundaries: These refer to boundaries you’d set to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent work-related stress from triggering your addiction. Examples of professional boundaries include setting clear work hours and setting boundaries with coworkers and clients.

Overall, limitations and boundaries are essential for helping recovering addicts establish healthy relationships, maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and protect their physical and mental well-being. Individuals who are newly sober can establish these limitations with the support of a recovery sponsor or addiction specialist.

Drug Addiction Help in California

From cleansing your body with medically supervised detox to addressing the contributing factors to your drug or alcohol use, the specialists at our Southern California rehab can help you or a loved one overcome addiction and stay sober long-term.

Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information to learn more about our Palm Springs rehab programs.

Related Reading:

The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery From Addiction

Do Employers Have to Pay For Rehab?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.