Added: Narissa Riedel - Date: 23.12.2021 09:07 - Views: 29393 - Clicks: 5753
May 8, Rich Jones. Boundaries is a word that gets bantered about all over the place in the recovery world. Actually it gets thrown around in all aspects of life. People devote extensive time to working on boundaries and setting limits within relationships. It is most certainly one of the key aspects of leading a healthy life.
Without boundaries you can lose yourself and, in extreme cases, become involved in abusive relationships. What are the skills and guidelines for setting boundaries? Many times, a circular conversation ensues around setting boundaries:. Two for one. I am the king of hyperbole.
However, the process of setting boundaries is much more involved than a simple declaration of intent. There are entire books dedicated to the concept. Maybe we can keep it simple by focusing on a variation of the classic saying: Say what you mean!
Mean what you say! How does this apply to addiction and family recovery. This is difficult for everyone. It gets especially challenging when addiction enters the picture. It has been said that the average human being has at least 77, thoughts per day and the overwhelming majority operate below conscious recognition. Under the best of circumstances we have difficulty staying in the present moment. Our behaviors and words are influenced by past experiences and future considerations.
Now add in addiction and all the chaos, drama, and fear associated with that reality. Traumatic experiences are encoded and frozen in the information processing system of the brain making thought recognition even more difficult. At any given time family members will be triggered and re-experience events and situations. What is it that you want to see happen?
What is the specific problem that you need to address? That is perfectly understandable. This is where the boundaries talk comes in. Some recommendations:. Remember the target outcome is about you not about the other person. Ask yourself: What do I need to be different in order for my life to improve? Try to avoid focusing on the behavior of the other person excepts as it relates to you.
A quick example:. Johnny returns from rehab and is living at home with you. Johnny tends to go out late with his friends. He is 22…the night starts for him at 10 pm. You are The night ends for you at 10 pm. Johnny tends to come in at 1 am. You are frequently up all night waiting for him to come home. The lack of sleep is starting to impact your life.
At first glance the issue seems to be Johnny not coming in at a reasonable time. Your impulse may be to break off a speech about a curfew and coming in at reasonable hour. However, for a 22 year old 1 am is reasonable. The real problem is your lack of sleep. This changes everything. The details of this can actually be worked out with Johnny.
Maybe this means he agrees to come in at midnight. Or maybe it means he agrees to spend the night with a positive friend rather than come home late. This is where the rubber meets the road. The most important part of this process is thinking it through before you set the boundary and discuss the limitations and associated consequences.
If you make statements that you cannot carry through on your authority is ificantly undermined. It is better to say nothing at all than to make an empty threat. Of course, this is easier said than done. You also need to develop a team of people who can support in processing situations and exploring options. Parents for example, need to support one another in the decision making process. If there is disagreement around boundaries this will become a glaring problem when the boundaries are enforced. Sometimes a trusted coach or sponsor can help your family discuss these tough Say what you want and mean.
Sometimes a therapist or counselor will be necessary. In some cases the parents will need to address deeper issues. The graphic below is meant to describe the importance of having crucial conversations regarding these underlying issues.
This will require clinical support to work through these complex issues. In addition to parents, it is sometimes necessary to bring extended family into the discussion. Extended family members and friend have influence. They need to be on the same with many of the boundaries that are set in these situations.
Furthermore, parents and extended family should discuss ways to give each other respite and support. Recovery is a process not an event. A marathon not a sprint. Once the boundaries are agreed upon it is important to stay involved with your support system so that you can carry through over the long term.
Even more importantly, it is important to communicate these expectations clearly to your loved one. This is where the final part of the formula comes in. Addiction is a beast. It can bring out the worst in all of us. The addicted individual will engage in outrageous self destructive behaviors.
Stealing, lying and manipulating may become common place.
In turn this can bring out frustration in the family. Family members can lash out in anger and say things in aggressive ways. Clear communication is going to take an effort. There is no easy way to maintain your cool in the face of an addition related crisis. However, here are some general guidelines:.
If you are going into a potentially conflict laden situation gaining awareness of what gets you fired up is very important. You may need to ask for feedback from you spouse or other family members in order to identify this. However, identifying these potential trigger areas is vital to successful communication of the boundaries. I want to go on the record. This is all easier said than done and none of it is an exact science. Please become involved in local support groups and seek out professional assistance as you prepare for these conversations.
Managing boundaries is hard enough. Addiction makes is downright overwhelming. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn. Boundaries Boundaries is a word that gets bantered about all over the place in the recovery world. FM: How do I do that? VHP: Just tell him. Stop smoking pot or there will be consequences. FM: I tried that. He is still smoking. FM: What boundary? VHP: The one about smoking pot. FM: What kind of consequences? VHP: Take his phone. He just flipped out until I gave it back. FM: What do you mean? FM: He knows that. He does it anyway. Football practice. A quick example: Johnny returns from rehab and is living at home with you.
Wait until the next morning. Unless it is immediate crisis and person is danger to self or others in which case enact emergency services. Rehearse the conversation. Bring bullet points or a script. The addicted individual will try and get you off track and will bring up things unrelated to boundaries. Stay out of the weeds. If the boundary involves outside forces ie…the person needs to be evicted, the person needs commitment, etc… make sure you have all the extraneous details worked out.
Paperwork, phone calls to rehab, list of shelters. Bring this to the meeting. Again, having a family coach or a group to support you in this preparation can be helpful. Have the conversation when you have energy and you are not already Say what you want and mean depleted. Search for:. Check out this month's calendar.Say what you want and mean
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Say what you mean and mean what you say