Recovery is a time for individuals to surround themselves with positive people who support their decision to become sober. To achieve and maintain this goal, good boundary-keeping is critical. The importance of good boundary-keeping when rebuilding healthy relationships cannot be overstated. To keep up one’s progress in sobriety, one may need to distance oneself from challenging relationship situations. Although saying no and setting limits can be challenging, these skills can help individuals achieve mental and emotional wellness.
Common Marks of Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships are founded on security and mutual respect. Such interpersonal dynamics have good boundaries that allow for respect and personal space. These qualities allow relationships to grow stronger and require low maintenance. Below are some everyday examples of healthy relationships:
- In healthy relationships, both people consider what is best for the other person
- Both parties treat each other with dignity and respect
- Each person can express what they need and want from the other person
- Participants in the relationship have the space to maintain personal and shared values despite what others think of them
- Each partner feels they have the freedom to say “no.”
- Trust for the other person grows over time
Everyone should have a set of personal boundaries that define limits for their own mental and emotional well-being. These boundaries should protect one’s self-worth and integrity. Unfortunately, many grow up in homes with either too strict or non-existent boundaries. As a result, these individuals experience difficulties developing a sense of self.
Unhealthy relationships with poor boundaries or boundary-keeping can lead to neglect or abuse. Unfortunately, many people who develop addictions may not know they have absorbed these negative influences from toxic relationships. Therefore, during recovery, one must assess one’s relational health and learn to set and enforce boundaries where needed.
Common Relationship Challenges Brought on by Substance Addiction
People who struggle with addiction tend to neglect relationships because they are preoccupied with securing and using drugs or alcohol. They may neglect family responsibilities. Some may even deceive their family members into securing the financial means to obtain their substance of choice. These behaviors can cause disturbances in relationships.
Because addiction can also undermine one’s cognitive abilities and communication skills, people may experience difficulties expressing themselves over time. They also tend to have lower self-esteem and a damaged sense of self-worth. These changes are not conducive to building social relationships.
Recovery is a time for re-learning social skills and rebuilding relationships. However, a person may first need to unlearn many things. For example, recovering individuals may need to unlearn negative self-talk and common thought patterns among those with addiction. They must recognize their self-worth and self-efficacy. They must also take ownership of their actions and work to rectify those that caused damage to others.
Sobriety and Social Boundaries for Healthy Relationships in Recovery
Healthy boundary-setting is critical for relapse prevention. Recovering individuals must always prioritize sobriety in social situations. There is often some risk individuals should assess before participating in certain social events. If necessary, those in recovery can speak to the host about their triggers. If friends refuse to make concessions, this relationship may not be worth continuing.
Maintaining boundaries with employers and co-workers is equally important. Similarly, recovering individuals should work out healthy work boundaries and learn to say “no” to overwork demands. If necessary, they can explain to their employer their need to prioritize self-care during recovery.
With the help of recovery experts, individuals may learn that some family and friends have been enabling their substance use. These individuals should take the initiative to set boundaries and explain co-dependency in these relationships. Family therapy can be instrumental in reshaping family relationships to be more recovery-supportive.
Practical Advice on Setting Healthy Boundaries in Recovery
To understand where to set boundaries, recovering individuals must first define who they are and what values they hold dear. These are the core of their integrity. This process may involve working closely with a therapist.
Once they set these internal boundaries, they may plan ways to protect these morals. Then individuals should become comfortable expressing these values so that others know how they wish to be treated. Joining a peer group may help you improve your communication skills. This is how good boundaries can be determined, set, and enforced.
An easy place to begin setting boundaries is in time management. Establishing priorities and managing one’s time so that one can stay committed and motivated in the course of recovery is crucial. For example, if regular 12-Step meetings make a difference in one’s ability to remain sober, they may need to say no to friends who ask for time that would take away from those meetings. Likewise, to protect a work-life balance, one may also need to say “no” to additional work responsibilities.
Good relationship boundaries can also be physical, emotional, or internal. Boundaries of all kinds are critical to achieving sustainable recovery. Individuals should always begin with finding their sense of self and becoming confident in their values and personal limits. Finding this balance takes time and patience, but in the end, those boundaries protect them from relapse.
When a person is in recovery, they must separate themselves from people who do not support their sobriety or those who cause them to experience negativity or stress. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you navigate relationship issues by working with you to determine healthy boundaries. Here, you will find that our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of positive support networks. Whether you need to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships or set up good relationships for success, laguna shores can help. Family support is key to your loved one’s recovery. Please call (954) 329-1118 to discover how you or your loved one can be part of our strong recovery community.