One of the many things that a person learns at an addiction treatment center is the importance of setting boundaries. Another way to think about boundaries is that they establish a person’s comfort zone. Boundaries are the parameters that are defined by our values and the level of respect we feel we deserve. They help us stay mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. Our boundaries also help us maintain a positive sense of self-worth. Healthy relationships where your boundaries are respected reflect back a good self-image, which is highly beneficial for mental health.
In the grips of an addiction people let their boundaries go. As the addiction gets more severe boundaries slip well beyond what the person would normally allow. Their self-worth plummets, which drives them deeper into the addiction.
In recovery, setting boundaries is part of the process. Part of the treatment plan at an addiction recovery center is establishing healthy boundaries that will increase self-worth and decrease the likelihood of relapse. Here are a few steps that we walk people through at our Dallas addiction center when clients are early in recovery and boundaries are being set.
Base Boundaries on Respect
Healthy boundaries are based on respect for yourself and for others. Think about what respect means to you, your values, your needs and who you are as a person when you’re coming up with boundaries. This will keep them rooted in respect and help you maintain positive relationships with others during recovery.
Put Yourself First
Too many addicts fall into the trap of always putting others first and not looking out for their own best interest. They have a problem with telling others no and want to please others, even to their own detriment. It can lead to very unhealthy co-dependency that ties you to negative relationships where respect doesn’t exist.
Boundaries are about putting yourself first. It’s about what you’re comfortable with, what’s acceptable to you and what makes you feel respected. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It may take time to fully embrace this part of boundary setting, but it’s absolutely essential for building healthy relationships in recovery that bring real value to your life.
Pay Attention to Physical Responses and Feelings
Listening to your body can help you set healthy boundaries. Our physical reactions and feelings are indicators of how comfortable we are in a situation. If your muscles tense up, your stomach feels nauseous or anger starts to build those are clear indicators that boundaries need to be set.
Self-reflect to determine what it was that caused a negative physical response or feeling. If you’re enrolled at any addiction treatment centers, consider discussing matters with a therapist who can help you gain perspective. Next, decide what needed to be different to avoid that reaction and reveal the boundary that needs to be set.
Write Your Boundaries Down
Writing down your boundaries is a firm reminder that will help you maintain them. Be as clear and specific as possible. Anytime you feel like a boundary may be getting violated read through what you wrote down to reaffirm your feelings and decide how to move forward in a positive manner.
Make Your Boundaries Clear to Others
Setting boundaries is for your personal well-being, but they’re only effective if other people are aware of them. For many addicts, not speaking up to protect boundaries was an unhealthy habit that took away their sense of control.
Many people in your life probably don’t cross boundaries often, and when they do it’s usually unintentionial. If it happens, calmly and clearly state that you aren’t comfortable and why so that others better understand your boundaries. If someone has a problem with the boundaries you’ve set it’s best to limit time around them or avoid being around them all together.
Setting boundaries and sticking to them is a process that takes time, listening to yourself and self reflection. It’s also something that may evolve over time as you tap deeper into who you are and what you need in recovery. But if you set boundaries and stick to them you’ll gain more control over your life so that relapse is less of a concern.
Are you ready to make the necessary changes in life to regain control and end addiction? At Lighthouse Recovery’s Dallas addiction centers our experienced team works with each client individually to create an addiction treatment plan that serves as a guide through recovery. We’ll help you set healthy boundaries and provide continual support so they’re easier to maintain.