It seems like we all have a dozen things competing for our attention on any given day. Work, education, friends, family, hobbies and other responsibilities all seem to require so much of our time and energy. As if regular life wasn’t already overwhelming, the added demands of recovery are significant.
While going through treatment for substance use is surely better than addiction, recovery is no walk in the park. Treatment itself takes a good chunk of time out of your day and requires a lot of brain power. Moreover, outside of scheduled sessions you’ll still be using your energy to fight off triggers and stay on track.
Recovery demands our full effort, and staying focused on the end goal means you’re going to need to set boundaries. Several areas of your life that will be impacted, from your social life to the way you manage finances. Setting up these boundaries is tough, but it could be key to protecting your sobriety.
First things first
In order to set boundaries when you’re going through recovery, you’ll first want to consider what your priorities are. Take a few minutes to sit down and write a list of what matters most to you. Recovery is likely going to be at the top of the list at this period of your life. Try to narrow down your top three priorities, and start to think about the compromises you’ll have to make in other areas.
Establishing boundaries with people
One of the hardest things to do in recovery is to let go of the bonds you’ve made with those who could jeopardize your recovery. You need to say goodbye to your people at the bar, friends you used to get high with, your dealer and others in your life who could sway you towards using drugs or alcohol again.
Setting healthy boundaries may require deleting phone numbers, finding new friends and finding new places you socialize. You need to make sure you make it clear to these individuals that you’re working to get clean. Having that conversation will give you the accountability you need when you’re tempted to go back to the same negative influences.
You may also need to set boundaries with people who support your recovery. Loved ones may have misconceptions about recovery, and having a conversation to establish realistic expectations may be helpful. Consider clarifying with your family the time commitment of recovery, the statistics on relapse and potential withdrawal symptoms (like anxiety, irritability and depression).
Establishing boundaries with other time commitments
There’s no denying it, recovery takes time. In the short-term you may need to participate in an inpatient program, and long-term outpatient services will take several hours out of your week. In order to attend treatment, you’ll have to sacrifice other time commitments. Some activities you’ll have to cut out completely for the time being, others you’ll need to scale back.
Having your priorities listed out and numbered will help you in this step. When your recovery is number one, you’ll be able to see the things you need to let go, even if other commitments are important, too. Think of it this way: when you invest in your recovery now, you’ll have time to come back to the things you postponed. Remaining in an addiction means you won’t have the time – now, or later.
Establishing financial boundaries
In order to minimize the triggers you’ll face, you need to get your affairs back in order, and that includes managing your finances. When you have a stable income and budget, you’ll have less stressors that contribute to using drugs and alcohol. You’ll also have goals that keep you from spending money on substances.
If you’re not sure how to handle your money, consider enrolling in a course or seeing what financial services are offered through your addiction treatment provider. Many recovery programs have finance classes built in to help you manage your money.
Establish mental health boundaries
You’ll never have peace in your recovery if you are compromising your mental health. Addiction counseling can help you make strides towards mental wellness, but you may also need to put in work on your own time to ensure you’re healing your whole being. If you’ve noticed your mental health is impacting your success in sobriety, discuss ways to boost your mental health with your treatment team.
Set yourself up for success
Recovery isn’t just about getting clean from substances. In order to get sober and stay sober in the long-term, you need to make sure the rest of your activities reflect a substance-free lifestyle. In order to achieve lasting success, you’ll need to decide on your priorities and establish boundaries to protect them.
At Real Recovery, we provide the guidance you need as you embark on your journey toward freedom. Certified addiction specialists can walk with you as you establish boundaries with loved ones, with your time and with your money. Call 855-363-7325 today to take the first step.