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Healthy Boundaries

How We Teach Healthy Boundaries

In treatment at Enlightened Solutions we focus on finding the joy in recovery so that everyone can bring something home with them that can be a guiding light. Happiness and joy begin on the inside of each and every one of us, which is why individualized therapies are valuable – you will start to uncover those joys as you understand your feelings, needs, and wishes for the future. In spending time with our clients, we offer them emotional coaching to work through their inner struggles, eventually working their way out into group sessions so they can practice expressing their feelings instead of bottling them up. In our healthy boundaries classes, we teach clients the steps they need to take when they feel their boundaries being tested.

The first thing we do is to acknowledge those boundaries with your loved one and let them know you’re focusing on them. When you bring people into the plan, they will receive your actions and words in a gentler way. It’s okay to let someone know you’re working on your happiness and recovery because often, they will be your support system and can help you get through tough times. The next thing is to listen to yourself and take some time to make your decisions instead of reacting impulsively. In recovery, we teach people to live in the present moment, but we also ask that you remember past issues and how to avoid them by developing healthy boundaries. Wellness is within you; you just have to find out how to bring it outward into your life to create a functional and peaceful existence.

What We’ve Forgotten in Addiction

To move forward in recovery, it’s important that we continually define healthy boundaries in our relationships with ourselves, friends, family, and partners. When addiction sets in, there are so many things we lose sight of – our responsibilities, health, confidence, finances, etc. – that we forget what it’s like to feel balanced and joyful. In active addiction, other people take over for us because we cannot participate and be present, nor can we handle the basic tasks in our lives when we are unraveled and cannot see through our own dysfunction.

Those suffering from addiction know that when we focus on the addictive substance, there’s no room for any of those core necessities that make our lives what they are. We’ve lost ourselves in the obsession with our chosen substance, and lost our drive and respect for ourselves. Once we start taking care of ourselves in recovery by addressing what’s going on inside, how we protect ourselves. We can begin to learn about the things that make us feel uncomfortable or sad, anxious, and withdrawn.

What We Find in Recovery

Many of the things that make us retreat into ourselves are those we don’t voice. In therapy, we begin to acknowledge feelings we have toward certain situations and people that we couldn’t previously express. In addiction, everything we feel is blocked off because we are unable to cope or don’t know how to; guilt sets in, and we allow people to do and say what they want to us because we feel we deserve it. In recovery, we learn to rebuild our self-confidence and express how we feel in an effective, positive way.

When someone hurts you, the healthy person inside will say no, that hurts, please stop; healthy people speak up and think of their well-being. Previously you may have found yourself in situations where you feel like everyone else should be accommodated and must be happy, and you feel obligated to make them happy. However, in healthy relationships, no matter what kind of relationship it is, both parties have to feel satisfied and cared for. One person cannot be left out of the equation, because that is not balanced, nor is it truly love.

Understanding Healthy Boundaries

We think about boundaries as a way to establish comfort and respect for ourselves. If we want to enjoy healthy relationships and experiences with others in our lives, we need to remember what we’ve learned about the things that make us feel whole and at peace – these are the components of a balanced life we want to bring into our circle of wellness. During your therapy sessions with your counselor or in group therapy we ask our clients about particular situations that may bother them, or their reaction to what someone says, and why they feel that way. When we examine these feelings, there’s usually something found in those interactions that they don’t like and don’t want to experience again. For substance users, these events are things they don’t think about, but instead self-medicate afterward to avoid exploring their feelings. In recovery, we teach you to break the habit of escaping, and instead we ask you to sit with that feeling and reflect on how you can help yourself by expressing your feelings in a healthy way.

We all know that each relationship with a friend, family member, and partner are as unique as that person. Think about the natural boundaries you set in a familial relationship versus friendship versus one of love and intimacy with your partner. There are clear lines here so that people know who they are to you and you to them. This is a guide to show you some simple boundaries you have for people in your life. For example, many times a role someone has taken on during your addiction is one you no longer need them to play – it’s okay to tell them where they belong. Now that you are in recovery things will be different, and ever-evolving. Healthy boundaries are always changing to accommodate relationship growth.

Now that you’re working on a sober lifestyle, you must communicate behaviors you will and won’t tolerate with the people close to you, and define who you are and who you strive to be. We are all different people with different needs, and healthy boundaries will help you get the most out of your relationships so you won’t have to feel guilty or beholden to another person without your consent. You cannot be a vessel of yes when you may need to say no once in a while. Your family members may establish some of their own boundaries with you in recovery, and that’s fine too. Boundaries are about mutual respect for one another so that you can all get what you need and live happily and well.