Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits of how people expect to be treated, how they will allow themselves to be treated and how they will react when those limits are violated. They are statements of what you will or won’t do, what you do or don’t like and how close you will allow someone to get to you.
In early recovery, boundaries are essential in staying focused on self and rediscovering who you are without drugs and alcohol. Learning to set appropriate boundaries is crucial as it allows the newly sober person to learn how to prioritize a recovery-first mentality. The positive effects of recovery trickle down into all other roles that person plays in life.
The three types of boundaries are porous, rigid and flexible. Porous boundaries tend to merge with other boundaries, allow all kinds of behaviors and are easily manipulated. Rigid boundaries are firm and completely inflexible. They prevent emotional or physical interaction or compromise. Flexible boundaries are ideal because the person selects what behaviors they will allow and refuse to be manipulated.
Signs of unhealthy boundaries include the following:
- Telling all or talking at an intimate level at first meeting
- Falling in love with a new acquaintance or anyone who reaches out
- Being overwhelmed or obsessed with another person- preoccupied
- Keeping secrets from others that are relevant to the relationship
- Going against personal values or rights to please others
- Not noticing when someone else displays inappropriate boundaries
- Letting others direct your life or define your purpose
- Believing others can anticipate your needs and know how to fill your needs automatically
- Falling apart so someone will take care of you
- Being defensive and guarded when given feedback or confronted
People in early recovery can be afraid to set boundaries because they fear abandonment or loss of a relationship. This behavior can lead to loss of self- respect, resentment and maybe even relapse. The purpose of setting boundaries is to protect your recovery and prioritize your own goals, values and morals.
At AToN Center, we encourage our residents to learn how to set appropriate boundaries with many tools, such as DESO Scripts, and psychoeducational groups, such as Codependency, Building Sober Support, Core Beliefs, Conflict Resolution, Self-Esteem and many more.
AToN Center 888-535-1516