In today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever to connect with like-minded people. If you put effort into finding people, the next step in fostering long-lasting and healthy interpersonal relationships lies in establishing and asserting proper boundaries.
Where To Look
Creating a new social support system or making new friends can seem overwhelming. However, there are specific places where you can spend time to maximize your efforts.
The most common option is joining some sort of 12-step program. Not only can you connect to people in your neighbourhood but also to those who are on the same journey as you.
Social Media Platforms
If you’re new to making friendships online, it may seem awkward at first, but if you give it time, you’ll see the beauty of it.
Are you looking for specific groups in your community? Facebook will be a great resource to use. Although it might take some time for your presence to warm up in the group, you’re sure to find some people you feel connected with.
By utilizing hashtags, like “sober-living” on Instagram, you’ll be able to explore a wide variety of pages with many people on the same path as you.
Websites like meetup.com are also incredible resources when looking for groups of people who share the same interests and want to meet in person. Who knows, maybe you could find a new passion by participating in these groups.
Creating A Blog And Connecting With Bloggers
This one might seem intimidating initially, but sharing your journey to sobriety online will open up the space for others to connect with you. The disadvantage is that building the blog and establishing an active online presence can take some time. Creating a blog with joy and creativity may take longer to establish than you might like, but it can also provide the best outcome.
Prioritizing your health requires a regular commitment to moving your body. Developing a habit of going to the gym will give your body medicine and give you a chance to get acquainted with the other regulars. You’ll experience the added benefit of creating new friendships while engaging in an activity that can deter you from relapsing.
What Are Personal Boundaries?
As you establish connections with people and engage in sober friendships, it’s important to assert your boundaries. What are those, and why are they important, you may ask? Boundaries are your emotional, mental and physical personal limits and rules that help you protect yourself against manipulation. Boundaries are standards we have for ourselves that reinforce our sense of self-worth.
Depending on how you were raised, your ability to establish and assert boundaries could have been confounded. Those raised in an environment with stringent rules tend to suppress emotions and create distant relationships. On the other hand, those who didn’t have rules to follow tend to have difficulty creating a sense of self. These behaviour patterns follow into adulthood and can result in anxiety, depression or addiction.
Typically, people with an addiction have unhealthy boundaries and struggle to speak what they believe to be true without feeling bad or guilty. The inability to assert boundaries, even when they know they should, often ties into a lack of a sense of self or fear of rejection. It’s important that before you make friendships, you know how and when to say no so that you can continue to flourish in your recovery journey.
4 Steps To Establish Personal Boundaries
1. Identify Harmful Risk Factors
If there is anything that can put your sobriety at risk, you need to be acutely aware of those factors and how to manage them. Whether they are places, people, possessions, behaviours or thoughts, identifying them is extremely important.
2. Develop A Plan
Once you’ve identified any factor that can interfere with your sobriety, you can create a plan with your counsellor, recovery support group or yourself to combat these factors.
3. Be Consistent
Now it’s time to follow through. It’s great that you’ve identified the risk factors and created a plan, but you must stick to it. This will require you to be honest with yourself, and it’s best to have others keep you accountable.
4. Seek Out Peer Accountability
Whether you discuss with your counsellor, a close friend or a family member, talking about your personal boundary issues and successes will continue paving the way for your growth. When analyzing where you felt you compromised your boundaries, recreate the scenario and imagine what would have happened if you didn’t compromise them.
Benefits Of Healthy Boundaries
You’ve probably seen the consequences of having unhealthy boundaries, but have you seen what can happen when you have healthy boundaries?
1. Resist Temptation
Truly knowing your boundaries makes it easy to avoid relapse because you know which situations and people to stay clear from.
2. You’ll Be Able To Say No
As kids, it’s so easy to spit out these two letters, but as we get older, conflict seems to arise. By accepting yourself, recognizing your own worth, and valuing your own opinions, you’ll return to that child-like self when saying no was simple.
3. Knowing Your Self Worth
Working on your boundaries will improve how you view and respect yourself and others.
4. Better Communication
Knowing what is important to you is half the battle. Letting other people know is just as important. By sticking to your boundaries, you’ll learn to communicate them effectively without blaming others.
5. Maintaining Ownership And Responsibility
By learning to respect and love yourself, you learn how to accept the consequences of your behaviours.
6. Experience A More Fulfilling Life
All these benefits will lead to a life with more balance and deeper meaning. Not only will you feel more at peace with yourself, but you’ll be able to navigate better throughout life, especially with relationships.
Relationships and making memories with people you care about is a massive part of life, so why not make it the best? You’ll simply feel better by finding friends with similar interests. Knowing your boundaries can create the life you want with the best people.
For additional information or support, we invite you to reach out to us via our website Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario’s luxury addiction rehabilitation centre.
Bibin K. Ittiavira, Clinical Therapist, MSW, RSW, Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health.