Recovery is a whole new ballgame. Women have to learn how to navigate the journey much different than when they were actively addicted to substances. Creating space for recovery means learning to set healthy boundaries in life and within relationships. It also means creating room for self-care, recovery, rest, and healthy nutrition. There are many components to setting boundaries, not just creating limits. Boundaries mark a line in the sand a woman will not cross. It is important these boundaries are tight and solid in order for them to stick.
The first part of recovery is learning what is one person’s to handle, versus everyone else’s business. The first part of the prayer is a reminder there are things in life people cannot control. Although there are influences, people cannot dictate life choices and actions. It is possible to set boundaries that moderate the way a person and their behavior impact a person. Owning how a person responds to someone else, or their environment may be the key to feeling successful in recovery. It can take a while to learn these skills. The first step is learning to set appropriate boundaries with others, then continue working on taking back one’s own power.
It is almost as if a woman who is in recovery suddenly gets hired for a logistics position. Every little piece of the puzzle has to come together in order for the whole thing to move forward. During recovery, women go through counseling on triggers and environmental situations they might need help with. They may need to troubleshoot how to change what they’re doing to get better results. Logistically speaking, there are a lot of moving parts to reckon with. Setting boundaries will aid in recovery. It is not just limiting access to situations and people that make a person backpedal into substance abuse. It is also about protecting mental and emotional health and safeguarding against pain in the future. Logistics is about anticipating the future to protect the present. “If this…then that” type of thinking. It is not easy to be in recovery, but taking it one step at a time makes it manageable.
One of the hardest things to do with boundaries is not creating them; it’s setting them. Setting healthy boundaries is a way to reinforce to people a person means business. When they are not going to put up with anything for much longer, they recognize how strong they are. What the person needs is big follow through and a way to make sure the other person pushing back against the boundaries listens well. Here are some tips on how to navigate the challenges:
- Acknowledge everything: emotions are never invalid. They are what they are. They may come out wrong, poorly timed, or inappropriately, but they are valid. They may be signals of something that is wrong and needs changing. Emotions are an indicator of what is happening in a person’s life and they are just as valid as anyone else’s.
- Get focused: narrow in on things and situations that are leading to ill feelings of frustration or struggle. Look at the deeper pain and ways to deal with it all. Don’t shut down feelings because they are difficult. Be focused on what is going on at the heart of it all and get to the source of healing is to happen
- Know the source: if feelings from the past are causing a reaction, it is important to look at these feelings. Think about how they are occurring at this moment and consider whether boundaries need tweaking to adjust for other people pushing against them so hard (make them stronger, not weaker)
- Learn to communicate: communication is a bridge that connects people. The way to criticize a person is not to outright claim something against them. Most of the time, people can criticize by simply using words or being hurtful with the way they respond to someone. Let someone know the way they used their words was hurtful. Ask them to think differently next time before they speak that way. Effective communication can nip painful experiences in the bud.
Don’t give up setting boundaries because people push. They will push past them anyway. Learn to communicate needs before they are breached. This leads to a more harmonious relationship and better outcomes in recovery. There is clear territory that is being broken down but needs support. Don’t let people hurt those boundaries by pushing them too far. Take control now and start setting a healthy space. It is important to create room enough to grow and confront the people who are taking advantage of the space.
It is wiser to set healthy boundaries now than to let people push past them and continue to trigger old feelings and habits. Relapse is very common in recovery, especially during that first year. People are susceptible when they feel their boundaries being pushed over. Don’t hesitate to create space for healing with those boundaries. Talk to a therapist, speak with someone, and ask how to strengthen them if things are a challenge. Make this a priority to avoid feeling overwhelmed later on in recovery by the same people pushing back now. It is for the betterment of everyone that loved ones set boundaries and respect each other by honoring those boundaries.
Casa Capri helps women who are struggling with addiction. We believe women are designed with a purpose and deserve healthy lives in recovery. Our goal is to support women who are dealing with difficulties and need help. We are here to help you if you are ready for support: call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.