Early on in my recovery I had a hard time setting boundaries, matter of fact I dont think I had any boundaries and if you had said healthy boundaries to me I would have asked you what that was or given you some off the wall explanation such as “I dont drive while I’m drunk”.
Today it is much easier for me to set healthy boundaries without feeling guilt. Early on I had guilt all the time and never wanted to say NO because someone might not like me, or maybe think that I’m a bad person. This is not the case anymore. I cant control how other people think or what they do and sometimes this may effect me or my spirituality so I have learned to say the word NO to set good healthy boundaries.
With working all the 12 steps and traditions you will find it becomes easier and easier to say but if you were a people pleaser such as I was in the beginning of my program and sobriety you will feel some guilt for saying NO. Just because you tell someone NO does not mean you have to be hateful, you can say it in a calm mannerly fashion.
Now be ready for the outcome because some people in your life are not use to you doing this, setting boundaries, especially family. You may get a negative reaction from them. I know with my children when I started saying the word NO I got a lot of flack from them but I know today this was not their fault because during my drinking days they were being the responsible parent, taking care of me and looking out for me and they were use to being in control. It is all part of changing and you will never know how family members will react from your change within yourself.
Life throws us all types of curve balls and we need to be spiritually ready and fit to handle those curve balls. Family, I have found is the hardest to set these boundaries with but if you stick to your beliefs and stay focused on your sobriety the ones who truly love you will realize you are making some healthy changes in your life and they will support you. I always had to remember that I was not so responsible and reliable during my drinking days and my family was use to seeing me that way, taking care of me, and handling all the adult business, so it takes time for your family to recover from who you use to be and who you are now.
Yes, you will have to prove yourself to them, but if you are working the steps you will not see it this way. God gives us the strength to deal with any person, place, situation, or thing so we will not be discouraged. Saying the word “NO” for me today is letting someone know that they are not allowed to cross that boundary and that I respect myself today. Eventually the one’s you love will except this and love you for who you are.
So as we go out into the world today, learn to practice saying “NO”.
God Speed my Brothers and Sisters