Addiction and Boundaries

by baladmin | August 20, 2015

Developing boundaries in relationships is an important part of addiction recovery. Boundaries distinguish an individuals emotions and needs from another. Often, people in recovery struggle with anxiety that causes them to avoid voicing their discomfort. As well, when a person is unfamiliar with their own emotional and physical boundaries they are not aware of them in others. The good news is that boundaries become stronger with practice. Here some ways to get started:


Work can be stressful, friends ask for favors and family can be challenging, but these things should be rare-not the norm. If you don’t feel peace on a consistent basis then its wise to evaluate your life. Is your boss respectful of your time on and off the clock? Does your friend invest in you as much as you do in them? Is your family working on changing unhealthy dynamics? A careful evaluation of the stressors in your life can signal where boundaries need to be set. No matter what peace is a birthright for every human being.


Recovery is an exploration of who you truly are. When you become conscious of what your beliefs, likes, dislikes, etc… it’s easier to set boundaries that help you do less of what you don’t want. Some questions to get you started are:

“What do I like to do for fun?”

“What kind of people do I like to spend time with?”

“What is my financial budget?”

“What type of food do I like?”

“What makes me happy?”

“What annoys me?”


Emotional boundaries are as tangible as physical ones. If you leave a conversation feeling drained, depressed or overwhelmed that’s a sign that your emotional boundaries may need some looking into.


When you’re spending time with someone scan your body for the emotions your feelings. Stay mindful of your ease or discomfort. Try not to judge your emotions, but instead observe them and give them a closer look.

Draw the Line

Sometimes setting a boundary means wrapping up a phone call, changing the subject, or confronting the situation. Set your own terms for boundaries and also be observant of others. For instance, some people don’t like making plans last minute. That may be their personal time boundary. The more you practice the healthier everyone in your circumference will be. 

Boundaries skills progresses over time. The more they are practiced the more authentic you will become because you will be acting out of your core values. Your willingness to speak up and fight for your self will prevent further offenses. As well, it will serve as a healthy example to others around you.

If you’d like to know more about our the therapy groups offered at

Balboa Horizon please call, (866) 316-4012.