When you are trying to transition from the structure of an intensive recovery program to the autonomy and independence of adulthood, it can be tough to balance your personal needs with maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends. Although it may seem like friendships can sustain themselves, it’s important to put in place healthy boundaries that keep both people in the relationship healthy and intact.
The importance of setting healthy boundaries in relationships
Boundary setting in relationships is critically important because it helps you prioritize your own needs as well as let the other person know how to best interact with you. Without proper boundary setting and a knowledge of how the other person intends for the relationship to be, there is a chance for bitterness and resentment to grow.
When you communicate your boundaries, it leaves little room for guessing work, which can be particularly important for those on recovery journeys. Setting a boundary lets the other person know who you are and who you are not, and this might look very different than it did before you began your journey. What you feel comfortable engaging in may have changed and setting clear limits communicates that comfortability to others.
Tips for setting healthy boundaries in relationships
Setting and communicating boundaries to friends and family can be a daunting task, but there are many steps you can take to help make the process easier.
You want to start with the “why”. Why are you setting these boundaries and what are you hoping to accomplish by setting a specific boundary? This will give you a clear indication as to what the boundary is preventing. Maybe you are setting a specific boundary to prevent easy access to a substance or to avoid a trigger that will result in unwanted behavior.
Once you know why you are setting these boundaries and what you are trying to achieve by setting them, communicate specifically what you need without apology. Try to avoid asking others to change as this is more about your journey. Saying something like, “when we hang out, I need to be in an environment that is alcohol-free” communicates to the other person what the specific boundary is and that it’s about your journey, not about them.
Although in most healthy relationships, the other person should be willing to accept your boundaries, be prepared to accept the no if they are not able to. If what you’re asking conflicts with their own personal boundaries, accept their boundary, and realize it has more to do with them than it does you. Setting boundaries can be an ongoing process as you work through what is best for you, so focusing on the process rather than the end result will achieve more positive outcomes.
Journey Home Young Adult Can Help
Journey Home Young Adult has been designed as a 6-12 month step down transition program for teens ages 18-23 who need ongoing support after completing a prior, more intensive treatment program. Our clients are teens who have made significant strides in emotional development, self-motivation, and emotional maturity, and they are committed to continuing their journey.
Our program is based on structure, support, and mentoring, which helps teens emerge from Journey Home Young Adult emotionally and intellectually equipped to successfully launch into a fulfilling life. For more information on how we can help, please call (855) 918-0032.