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Tips For Setting and Keeping Boundaries in Recovery

boundaries in recovery

Your sobriety is your most important priority in recovery, and you can protect it with boundaries. When properly implemented and maintained, boundaries are a powerful psychological technique for strengthening and preserving your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Simply put: boundaries keep chaos and the regression into old, harmful habits at bay. 

Boundaries are a powerful psychological technique for strengthening and preserving your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being when properly implemented and maintained

Setting Boundaries For New Beginnings in Recovery

Recovery comes with rules designed to liberate you rather than imprison you in a routine or eliminate fun and spontaneity from your life. These rules are in place to keep you sober and in control and—in the case of relapse—to prevent you from heading down a path of deeper destruction. When removing an addiction from your life, the boundaries you must create to stay on track fall into three general areas: emotional, mental, and physical.   

These boundaries can look and feel different for every individual but ultimately serve the same end: helping you stay sober and successful. Boundaries can apply to your own internal state or to the people in your life. 

What Emotional, Mental, and Physical Boundaries Look Like in Recovery

Physical boundaries may be easiest to implement at first as they’re more concrete. Examples of physical boundaries that make your sobriety more sustainable include:

  • Removing triggers from your living space, such as alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications 
  • Committing to a regular workout schedule to keep your body healthy and in balance
  • Making sure others know they can’t handle objects that are private to you, like your journal 

Emotional boundaries are trickier to create and, therefore, more challenging to respect. However, when clearly articulated, they make sense to most people and do wonders for your mental health. Some ways you can create emotional boundaries include the following:

  • Acknowledging past mistakes and asking for forgiveness for them–but communicating to those involved that they cannot use these events as weapons against you during arguments
  • Not allowing yourself to make important decisions or conclusions based on feelings of shame, guilt, or remorse
  • Prohibiting yourself from blaming the mistakes and flaws of others for your own actions and their consequences

Mental boundaries might take the form of moral guidelines and accountability. Mental boundaries might include:

  • Practicing honesty and integrity
  • Facing problems head-on 
  • Acknowledging problematic or toxic situations and dealing with them
  • Monitoring thoughts to eliminate negative thinking

All of these types of boundaries can be taught in our outpatient center in Waukesha, WI

Tips For Enforcing Your Recovery Boundaries With Family, Friends, and Coworkers

It’s important to keep certain considerations in mind when it comes to enforcing boundaries. 

Firstly, your boundaries need to be reasonable and achievable. For example, if you know that you can’t be around alcohol, you’ll have to ask your loved ones to not use it in your company. However, you can’t dictate their use of alcohol when they’re not with you.  

Secondly, you need to consider your needs as well as the needs of those who support you financially and emotionally. Avoid setting boundaries that infringe on others’ boundaries. If a supportive family member has forbidden you from entering their home, don’t demand that you be allowed to visit. 

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, your boundaries must be communicated. Boundaries aren’t a punishment; they’re a necessary firewall against emotional and psychological distress that can lead to a relapse. 

To summarize, there are 3 key steps to creating boundaries that stick:

  • Allow yourself to make the boundaries that you need to stay sober
  • Choose your personal limits realistically 
  • Share your boundaries clearly with the people who have the power to break them

Create Boundaries For a Better You with Miramont Behavioral Health in Wisconsin

We’re equipped to accompany you into sobriety and to provide you with the tools you need to maintain that sobriety with boundaries. Contact us, and our health experts will assist you and your family today.

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