Nothing makes the clinicians at our treatment center happier than seeing someone become abstinent from drugs and alcohol and begin the rewarding path of recovery.
When someone manages to courageously “trust our process” and give up their drug of choice, we try and protect their sobriety with everything we can. Some things will seem obvious:
- Keep the person active in their recovery
- Frequently drug screen them to affirm their progress
- Counsel them frequently and individually to monitor their progress and look for warning signs of discouragement or potential relapse
One thing that we also feel is important is to make sure the recovering person knows how to exercise healthy boundaries with their friends and family.
Why Your Recovery Depends on Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
Simply put, negative influences can sabotage your recovery and contribute to a relapse. Many of the men and women who become chemically dependent are very sensitive, empathic people. They are often quite vulnerable to the influence of others. We’re not just talking about “using buddies,” but also friends and loved ones who (often unwittingly) can have a negative effect on the recovering person’s psyche.
There’s a reason why we strongly discourage communication with “friends at home” when a client is in treatment with us, and even place limits the communication between the client and their immediate family during the first few weeks. During this time, we are getting a feel for our client’s family and social history, and helping them to understand holistically what triggers contribute to their past substance use. Armed with this information, we can help them devise a game plan and even practice responses to challenging moments when they may expect when re-connecting with their friends and loved ones.
Putting Your Recovery First
Putting recovery first is important to maintaining it. The data points for how many people achieve long term recovery after completing treatment are disappointingly low. The pattern that inevitably reveals itself is the person returns home and “slips into their old habits.”
Being able to say “no” is important in sobriety, and will help you maintain your recovery routine. It’s empowering to politely decline when someone wants you to hang out with them or perhaps make changes to your recovery routine to accommodate their needs. This simple tool of saying “no” will lead to a much more fulfilling career and also healthier interpersonal relationships.
It’s also important to know that if you are in recovery, you don’t need to justify your choice or any of the activities that are part of your healing process. Specifically, participation in 12-step programs is often something that friends and family can be critical of. You do not need to justify or even discuss any part of your recovery process if you are not ready or if you fear the person will be critical of any aspect of what is working for you.