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Mom and DaughterFollowing a long term intensive residency or outpatient program, you may be concerned that the progress you’ve made may relapse. This is understandable. In the real world, family, relationships, employment, and other matters will present distractions and challenges in building new habits. Peer support during this transitional phase is especially important. However, besides your therapist and other members of your recovery team’s help, enacting the relationship boundaries discussed in group sessions becomes an essential step for continued success. As a reminder, imagine a boundary as a line you place in front of yourself. You decide what crosses that line, and you decide what you keep on the other side of it. Put simply, a boundary places you in control of what you are willing or not willing to accept into your life.  

The Real World

It may be challenging to maintain or remember the boundaries you discussed during intensive rehabilitation. Re-establishing a routine, employment, and family obligations may leave you feeling it is necessary to make uncomfortable either-or choices regarding continuing treatment. 

Take Action. Take Control

A large part of recovery is understanding you have control over your life. Sure, things happen that we have no control over, and there are times when we are called to sacrifice our desires to serve the greater good of those we love. However, beyond urgent needs, roughly half of what brings you to distraction may be unnecessary. To help you take action towards controlling your life, try:

  • Grabbing a pen and paper. List the areas of your life you feel need protection. These should include support groups, one to one therapy, and other activities meant to aid your long-term recovery. Other than genuine emergencies, these are non-negotiable.
  • Making another list of behaviors or attitudes you might find unacceptable from the significant family members who currently share your life. These may include anyone who shares your home and can directly influence the outcome of your plans. Older or adult children, spouses/partners, parents are an example, but your list might differ according to your situation.
  • Do you notice a pattern of demands on your time five minutes before you head out to your Monday night support group? When you are attempting to sit quietly and read something educational or simply meditate, does your partner start off-loading on their day without taking the time to read your body language?

By writing down these distractions, you will develop a conscious awareness of potential roadblocks, triggers, or challenges to your ongoing recovery plans. You might wish to make another list concerning your workplace situation, even old friends with the same old habits you chose to walk away from several months ago. 

Imaginary Lines

Remember the imaginary line drawn in the ground a few feet away from you? Under what circumstances will you allow your boundary to be crossed? If your boss insists you have to stay late and work overtime instead of leaving to attend your healing yoga session, you may not have too much to say! However, are you able to negotiate to leave early on another day of the week? 

How about the family member who insists on filling you in on all the negative news and events of the day while you meditate or read quietly?  Are you going to tell them you will be happy to talk after you have finished what you are doing but do not wish to discuss negative matters outside your control?

Flexible Strength And the Right to Say No

Unlike building a high, unyielding wall designed to keep us in and everything else out, boundaries allow for visibility and the option of making flexible decisions based on circumstances. It also establishes a firm footing for those closest to you, as they, too, move into new expectations and understandings based on your ongoing work to maintain mental health and functional living. Working with your professional support network and your peers, you can discover the best ways to effectively communicate your wishes and boundaries constructively and build trust between yourself and those you share intimate parts of your life with.

If you are used to going with the flow, saying “no” at first may seem strange, bringing with it feelings of guilt. However, persevering through uncomfortable feelings is vital. When we allow ourselves to continue to feel uncomfortable, we may build resentments and spiral into feelings of depression, shame, anger, or guilt. When saying “no” and setting boundaries, remember, you are protecting the person you are trying to become. 

 Establishing boundaries is critical for the success of your recovery. Boundaries develop and reinforce what you wish to permit or prevent from entering your life. Understanding what you want and what you do not want can help manage others’ expectations and build long-term healthy relationships. Situated amidst the tranquility of Ocala National Forest, Florida, The Guest House provides residential and outpatient programs to treat addiction, PTSD, trauma recovery, substance abuse issues, and other mental health issues. Peaceful, elegant surroundings teeming with wildlife provide ample opportunity for reflection on your journey toward healing. We provide unparalleled, premier-quality treatment and are uniquely equipped to help start you on your recovery journey. Comprehensive treatment options include meditation, psychodrama, equine therapy, art, and music. The Guest House Ocala prides itself on providing a whole person approach to achieving long term wellness and support. Ready to control your life? Call Guest House now at (855) 483-7800. Our staff looks forward to meeting you – you are not alone.