How saying ‘no’ can set you free in recovery

This entry was posted in Recovery.

You’ve probably heard you should set some boundaries for the sake of your mental peace, especially while in recovery. If you’re wondering about the specifics, we’ve got you covered here.

First of all, know that boundaries can be healthy, regardless of whether you struggle with a substance use disorder or not. Sometimes saying ‘no’ to others is necessary to take care of ourselves.

When you’re in such a vulnerable place in your life, boundaries become even more important. If you fail to set them, you risk ending up in a compromising situation that might put your recovery on the line.

Many people feel like they’re capable of moving forward without boundaries. Others fear the potential consequences, such as rejection. Other times hubris or ego can get in the way. If we enter a situation thinking we’re infallible, it could set us up for failure. We need to own the fact that certain things could cause us to relapse, which is why it’s important to set healthy boundaries. Leaning into a ‘no’ when necessary can serve us and our mental health in the long term. This isn’t an easy task right out of the gate and maybe one that requires support from friends or a professional. Think of it like a muscle; the more we use it, the more natural it feels to flex it.

When are boundaries necessary? This is going to depend on your values and the situation at hand. However, in general, if you find there are certain people, places, or things that tempt you to use, it’s a good sign that you should stay clear. Maybe being around people partying is too much. If so, set a boundary. Don’t have alcohol in the house or request that you enjoy a different activity when together. True friends will understand.

You may find as time goes on that your boundaries change as do your priorities. Maybe at the beginning of your recovery journey, you couldn’t be around alcohol. But maybe, a few months later you will feel comfortable sitting with friends or family while they have an alcoholic beverage. At the same time, you may find certain boundaries need to stay in place for years. Boundaries are very personal. You have to determine when to put them into action so you don’t do something you might regret. Don’t be afraid to be uncompromising or to be open about your boundaries. Let your friends and family know where you stand on certain behaviors. You need to do what’s best for your recovery. And sometimes saying no is a beautiful thing.