Rebuilding healthy relationships with yourself and others is essential in recovery; however, it is a process that will come with challenges, apprehension, and sometimes frustration. Remember, building self-respect will help you understand your limitations and pitfalls, therefore helping you understand the boundaries of what you or others can or cannot do regarding your recovery. However, establishing boundaries in recovery might be uncomfortable at first.
Setting boundaries with the ones you love and that support you benefits your mental and emotional health. It also aids you because it allows those who have your best at heart to understand certain behaviors, patterns, and habits that you should not return to since they harm your recovery. Alternately, setting boundaries does not need to become a contentious affair. Being loving, honest, and polite goes a long way in communicating what you need in a supportive way. Let’s look at some of the ways you can establish boundaries with yourself and others to grow healthy and safe relationships.
What Are Your Values and Beliefs?
When you are establishing boundaries, it is essential to understand your values and beliefs. Start this process by considering what is important to you, for example, self-care, family, sobriety, career. Additionally, do values like honesty, loyalty, ambition, or reliability inspire you? Building boundaries based on these beliefs helps you understand what values you hold highest in life. Such values and beliefs also transcend personal relationships and influence the relationships you have with acquaintances, co-workers, or strangers, and each helps garner respect from all relationships.
It is also essential to discover what frustrates you or angers you. For example, if poor time management, selfishness, or lying bothers you, think of setting boundaries that limit this behavior. Understanding and creating boundaries within helps you set the example for others when you are creating boundaries with them and creating expectations of what you want and need from one another.
Does Your Living Environment Need to be Drug-Free?
When you establish and list out your values and beliefs, decide if your living environment needs to be substance-free. You might think that you can overcome being around another person using substances. However, you might soon find that you are not quite ready. Not being prepared to be around substances is okay, and it is common, especially in early recovery.
Therefore, preparing your home environment for when you return from treatment can help create a safe and more comfortable transition. Talk with others in your household about respecting your need for it to be substance-free. If they support your recovery and have your best interests in mind, they will safeguard the home to help you stay sober. Furthermore, if you doubt that you will not handle seeing substance use, don’t hesitate to talk with peers, friends, and loved ones and set that boundary.
Learn to Say “No”
Boundaries are not effective if they do not get enforced. That means learning to tell your loved one “no.” Telling a loved one “no” can be challenging, but the point of establishing boundaries is drawing the line between what you will and won’t accept. Saying “no” early and often when you feel a boundary has been crossed will sooner establish and teach your friends, family, and peers how seriously you take this boundary.
It will also help avoid confrontation if you allow it to happen or are inconsistent with allowing or not allowing something to happen. For example, if you cannot handle having an alcoholic drink around you, make sure others understand this every time they bring up having a drink; it triggers your urge to drink. It does not mean that they can never have a drink, but instead, they can have a drink when you are not around. You can also see a therapist or attend meetings with your friends or loved ones so they can better understand what overcoming a substance looks like and why it is so essential to not use it around you.
Communicate Your Expectations
When you have clarified your beliefs, values, and home environment, it is time to communicate your needs. The conversation should come from love, patience, and trying to educate your friends, family, or peers why it is essential to respect these boundaries. If at any point the conversation turns to conflict or brings up past events, remove yourself from the situation until both of you have calmed down.
Arguing will only trigger negative impulses, and you both may regret things said. If you are still feeling contentious toward one another, you might consider breaking off the relationship for now or seeking counseling to help you communicate more constructively. However difficult, it is crucial to have these conversations and address these concerns sooner rather than later. Make sure you are prepared for the conversation, including any conflict that might arise, and have a plan to maintain your composure and walk away until you are both ready to talk.
Building relationships that help you in your recovery process comes with its challenges; however, healthy relationships are crucial to lasting success. Therefore, establishing boundaries with yourself and others will ensure that you and your recovery are getting the respect and care they deserve to prevail. If you are involved in relationships that neglect your needs and disavow your recovery, and you feel stuck, then it is time to seek help. At Choice House, we provide the support that men need to establish the self-respect and respect they need from others who put their recovery needs first. We believe that the bonds you make with yourself and others are a cornerstone in a lasting recovery. Located in the gorgeous Boulder area, we offer various alternative approaches to treatment, such as adventure therapy, rock climbing, and hiking. The right relationships are out there for you, so never feel like you need to work on repairing relationships with those that neglect your needs. Find out more and call us today at (720) 577-4422.