Learning to set and maintain boundaries in our daily lives and in our relationships is one of the best things we can do for our recovery. When living with addiction and mental health issues, we often don’t know what healthy boundaries look and feel like for us. We’re confused about our needs. Many of us are caught up in unhealthy relationships with weak boundaries and poor communication. We find ourselves in co-dependent and toxic relationships. Many of us struggle with maintaining boundaries in our lives simply because we never learned how to prioritize them for ourselves.
Healthy boundaries will look different for everyone, as each of us has unique and individual needs. Each of us experiences friendships and relationships differently. We all approach our interactions with other people differently. Learning how to have healthy boundaries is about examining our lives and committing to the process of self-exploration. This work invites us to ask ourselves some important questions. What do I want out of my friendships? What do I want out of my romantic relationships? What do I want out of my family relationships? What do I need from all of these relationships in order for them to be healthy, balanced and mutually fulfilling? What do I need my loved ones to do for me, and what can I expect from them? What can I do for them? What are my expectations for these relationships and for myself? What do I need my loved ones not to do, and what do they need from me? What does a happy, healthy relationship look like to me? What does respect look like for me? What do I need to do in order to ensure that my needs are met? What kinds of things, including self-care, spiritual practice and solitude, do I have a tendency to neglect because of my relationships? What boundaries can I put in place to make sure my needs are being met each day?
The more we can have a dialogue with ourselves about what it is we’re looking for from our relationships, the easier it will be to know what boundaries are necessary for us. For example, learning more about ourselves may guide us to the understanding that we need a lot of solitude in order to feel spiritually rejuvenated and refreshed. We might feel particularly troubled by specific things people say and do, and we’ll want to learn how to have boundaries around those issues in order to make sure everyone always feels respected. When living with addiction and mental illness, our lack of boundaries was one of the things that contributed to our unhappiness. Having healthy boundaries means we respect ourselves enough and love ourselves enough to prioritize our needs and make sure they are being met. Learning how to have healthy boundaries is one of the best things we can do for our healing.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.