Boundaries in Recovery

photo of a line in the sand - boundaries in recovery - hired power breakawayBoundaries in recovery help a person safeguard his sobriety. Boundaries are life-enhancing structures. They are borders and signs put up by a person in an effort to own and protect his life, make wise choices and do what is right for him.

Boundaries in recovery are simply yes’s that allow beneficial things and people to be allowed into one’s life; and they are no’s that do not allow unhealthy things and people into one’s life. Some boundaries are flexible and some are absolutely rigid. Without boundaries there is disorder, uncertainty and stress.

What Boundaries Are and Are Not

Boundaries are essential in all facets of life. Every person has an innate right to put up boundaries. Boundaries promote inner peace, safety, confidence, expression, exploration and the formation of healthy relationships.

Boundaries serve many functions:

  • They confirm and promote one’s existence, identity and true nature.
  • They attract respectful relationships because a person who has healthy boundaries is able to spot healthy boundaries in others. This increases one’s odds of forming positive relationships.
  • They bring order to all of the people, demands, ideas, beliefs, responsibilities, pleasures, activities, etc, that a person encounters in a lifetime.
  • They preserve one’s purpose and mission and keep the person on course through his lifetime.
  • They protect one from the control of others.
  • They protect personal assets such as knowledge, body, skills, purpose, mission and abilities.
  • They protect one from harmful people, beliefs, habits and situations.
  • They speak for the person who owns the boundaries. One’s boundaries send an unspoken message to others of what he is and is not about.

Boundaries are not:

  • A guarantee that one will have complete control over his life.
  • A guarantee that one will never be taken advantage of or hurt.
  • A reason not to give people second chances.
  • A reason not to sacrifice.
  • A reason not to take a risk on someone or something.
  • A contract or rules that will be respected by everyone.
  • An excuse to be rude, selfish, arrogant, irresponsible, superior or unhelpful.

Summary: Boundaries in Recovery are Important

A person who values himself will naturally erect healthy boundaries throughout his recovery. His boundaries will change as he grows and changes however some boundaries, especially those directly related to protecting his sobriety, will be set in stone. Setting boundaries in recovery are necessary for a full and meaningful life of sobriety.