What You Need to Know About Boundaries

Posted on Posted in HER Blog

What You Need To Know About Boundaries


Through recovery, people are gaining greater insight into what makes them tick. No longer reaching towards drugs or alcohol to mask the pain and confusion that's been lurking under their "normal" exterior. This is a time of reevaluation, a floodgate of emotion, and a time where minds are often temporarily spinning. It is going to be vital, to calmly, clearly, and consciously evaluate the many aspects of their life's realities.

Active addiction clouds realitiy as everyone in a family is spun up in the chaos and emotions of the moment. As sobriety sheds new light onto family communication issues, past resentments, and relationships; everyone needs to take some time to readjust. And that is perfectly okay.

Addiction is a problem much larger than the actual use of drugs and alcohol. Therefore, recovery requires more that just not using, or having your loved one stop. Addiction effects the individual first, and it impacts every subsequent relationship and interaction with the outside world. Backsliding into codependent, self-sacrificing , or other negative behaviors increases your risk for relapse. So don't backslide! Boundaries allow our relationships to evolve with us in a positive way.

Whether you're the user, the family, or the friendly neighbor from down the street, new boundaries are going to be necessary. Fear not! Boundaries may feel awkward, stressed, or unnatural at first, but after a few months of practice, I have no doubt that you're going to LOVE being a little boundary stating, business meaning fiend! And do you know why?

Boundaries are a natural part of healthy relationships, and as you start to establish your new "normal", they start to feel really good. You take responsibility for you, and other adults take responsibility for themselves. You accept that you don't have to be someone else's savior, you only have to tow your own end of the line.

During active addiction, many families develop an innate codependent dynamics where blame, responsibility, and neglect have been way off kilter. Recovering from this is entirely possible, but it's going to take the time and dedication of everyone in order to mend what's been broken.

For everyone involved, understanding who you are, and what you need, allows you to achieve greater success at identifying and communicating what your boundaries are . This means, knowing when it is time to say no, and learning how to. This will also mean learning to allow others to have good/bad/indifferent reactions to your boundaries, and understand that you are not responsible for that reaction. #CodependentNoMore

Boundaries give you the conviction of knowing your limits. Gaining confidence to express those limits to others without shame, guilt, or attempts to people-please is going to feel like a weight has been lifted from you. No more self-sacrificing attempts to control that which you can not.


Here's the thing: You have to clearly state what you want, and you have to mean business about it.

Since you are not a mind reader, it is going to be your responsibility to vocalize your thoughts, feelings, and boundaries clearly, thoroughly, and often. It really is as simple as: Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Communicating your wants and needs to the people in your life, allows those people to actually KNOW what you want and need. Guesswork is grounds for miscommunication, so you're going to take it out of the equation completely. No more misunderstandings.

Recovery is a process of action. It is all about using coping skills, going to meetings, changing behaviors, and taking care of oneself and the relationships that they value. Boundaries set the stage. BUT, if you tell someone that they will experience consequences if they overstep your boundaries, you need to follow through on that consequence. See it all the way through.

Addiction often creates an intense game of tug-o-war, where people are fighting for control and dominance to overcompensate for the effects that drugs and alcohol have had on a loved one. In recovery, you are learning that you only have control over your own words, actions, and choices. In order to become a person of your word, you must know your boundaries, communicate them, and follow through. Sending mixed messages won't help heal your relationships. Send the right message.

1. Respect the needs of each individual

2. Do not enable dysfunction

3. Allow each individual to have a whole identity, separate from the partnership or family unit

The goal of establishing healthy relationships is a huge component in minimizing your emotional risk for relapse. Be patient. Be mindful. Be true to yourself. This requires you to evaluate where you are now with the people in your life, and how to foster a healthier interaction. The healthy relationships that you want are just around the bend and you won't even have to give up yourself in order to achieve them. Boundaries allow this to happen by making it possible for each person to take accountability for themselves.

Recovery IS Possible!

Meg Glidden

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