By: Ava
June 28, 2024

How to Set Boundaries During Recovery

Table of Contents

When you are in recovery, there are many things that can trigger you, add unnecessary stress, or negatively impact your wellbeing. Learning to set boundaries during recovery is a way that you can manage these triggers and prevent them from causing unnecessary harm.

How to Set Boundaries During Recovery

So, how do you set boundaries during recovery?

Put Yourself First

When you set boundaries during recovery, you need to put yourself first. This is a time when your needs matter most. Those needs might include going to bed at the same time, which could preclude you from participating in certain activities or staying out late. It might even mean having to leave events early to ensure you maintain your sleep schedule.

Those needs might include prioritizing your mental health by not associating with certain people while you are in the early stages of your recovery. This could include people who trigger you regularly, who do not respect your recovery, or who add stress. 

For example:

Katie has to set boundaries during recovery that help her recuperate. She is trying to find balance between actively participating in events and being social but also making time for herself. So, when she goes out, she puts herself first by taking simple steps like driving herself instead of relying on someone else for a ride, having a family member she can call if she needs to step out for a minute because she’s feeling overwhelmed, and having a self-care routine that she does when she gets home so that she can unwind and prevent stress.

Learn to Say “No”

When you set boundaries during recovery, that means you have to learn to say “no.” This can be difficult, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be rude; you just have to politely establish boundaries.

Sometimes, all you need to say is, “Unfortunately I can’t make it out tonight, but thank you for the offer.”

Remember that you don’t always owe people an explanation. You are not being impolite or rude if you simply tell people that you don’t want to participate in something or you don’t want to go somewhere, and you don’t have to offer any excuses about it.

Have a Plan

If you decide to participate in something or go out somewhere, one of the ways you can set boundaries during recovery is to have an exit plan. This plan could include how you are going to exit, how long you are going to stay at an event, when you might decide to leave, or whom you want to spend time with while you are there.

For example:

John got invited to a company party. He is more than happy to go, but he knows that there are a couple of people with whom he used to drink regularly. So, John has a plan that he will stay for at least one hour to be sociable, but if he feels pressured to drink, he will simply leave no matter how long he has been there.

Learning to Set Boundaries in Recovery with Multi Concept Recovery

At Multi Concept Recovery, our clients in outpatient rehab learn how to set personalized boundaries during recovery and practice them in real-time. One of the benefits of our program is that we understand that individualized treatment is key to long-term success, and that extends to addiction treatment programs and mental health treatment.

For these reasons, our programs offer steps to set boundaries for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When clients turn to us for treatment, we will evaluate which type of outpatient program is best and offer individualized, integrated treatment models that let you pick from mindfulness programs, emotional intelligence, and traditional treatment options. Each of these tracks provides opportunities to learn how to set boundaries for long-term, sustained sobriety.

Overall, setting boundaries when you are in recovery, especially in the early stages, is an important tool for facilitating your sobriety. During this stage, you are most vulnerable. You need to ensure that you prioritize yourself, your mental health, and your physical wellbeing. Learning to set boundaries can help you do that by preventing others from taking advantage of you and prioritizing the things that matter most, like good sleep, exercise, and emotional resilience.

Contact our team to start your evaluation today.