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Setting Healthy Boundaries During Recovery from an Addiction

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Boundaries are oftentimes distorted by addiction. Therefore, setting healthy boundaries is a real need for any family beginning a recovery path, as well as the person who is in recovery. For many, this can be a very difficult task. Part of the process of boundary setting involves recognizing those things you want to protect, and then once you figure out and clarify your values, it is then time to take a look at the patterns within your family structure.

Setting Your Boundaries

Physical: Decide what your personal comfort zone is, and who you want or allow into that zone.

Emotional: Decide when it is safe to share some of your most intimate details with someone. Be in touch with your inner guidance through your feelings.

Sexual: Determine the difference between the words enmeshment and intimate. Do you have the right to sexual fulfillment? Within the context of an intimate committed relationship, is it okay to say no to your partner?

Fiscal: Decide how to share your money or if and when it is appropriate to share.

Spiritual: Decide which spiritual path fits your faith and journey. Do you want others to impose their paths onto you? You may need to set your own spiritual boundaries in order for you to grow.

Once healthy boundaries have been set for you, it is very important that each family member works on self-awareness and responsibly and respectively communicates his or her needs, emotions, concerns when and if those boundary lines are crossed. You must all be accountable. This is very important. For example, if you set out of bounds, just admit to it. If you lose control of your emotions and lash out, recognize your unhealthy behaviors, take control, apologize and learn and grow from the experience. By respecting the boundaries of others, you will be amazed by the boundary transformation of your own.

Berry Ford Center, California Jan. 2011

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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