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Tired of All the Drunk-Dialing? 5 Boundaries You Need to Set
Marissa was still shaking ten minutes after she got off the phone.
Jason was fine a few hours earlier at their recovery meeting. But he went home, downed a bottle of vodka, and now a completely different side of him just spent the last half hour yelling at her on the phone.
Marissa took some steadying breaths and thought about her next step. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but sometimes friends, family, and even fellow recovery group members have to set limits.
Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Here are five boundaries you need to have in place for a healthy life in recovery:
- Boundary #1 – Absolutely No Violence – Physical or Emotional
Jason was emotionally abusive to Marissa. He called her names, accused her of coming to meetings “just to meet guys,” and then asked her if he could come over. Marissa was horrified by his behavior.
She told some of the men in her recovery group, and they approached Jason. They made it clear to him that under no circumstances was it okay to be abusive to a fellow group member, and if he made anymore such calls, he would be kicked out of the group. They also suggested he cease having contact with women in the group outside of their meetings.
- Boundary #2 – No Ghosting
It was only a few days later when one of Marissa’s closest friends, who was also in recovery, disappeared. Sara wouldn’t answer texts or calls, and even when Marissa went to her apartment, there was no answer at her door. Marissa was worried sick.
“Just tell me what’s going on,” Marissa told Sara when she finally resurfaced. “If you’re using again, I won’t judge you. Just don’t leave me in the dark worrying.”
- Boundary #3 – No Borrowing/Stealing Money for Drugs or Alcohol
Back in her drinking days, Marissa used to borrow money for alcohol: from friends, from family, from men who would buy her drinks at bars expecting…something. She resolved to never loan money if it was going to be used for drugs or alcohol.
- Boundary #4 – No Flaking Out on Responsibilities
John had a truck and promised he’d help Marissa move over the weekend. Saturday morning arrived and John was a no show. When he finally answered her calls, he admitted he’d been out drinking the night before and slept right through the morning. Marissa said she understood, but that being drunk was no excuse for leaving her with her things in boxes and her landlord in a rage.
- Boundary #5 – Commit to Calling Someone When You’re in Trouble
Early in her recovery, Marissa made a contract with people she considered close friends. The contract simply stated – “If you’re in trouble, call someone: either me, a professional, or another member of your support system. Don’t isolate: reach out to someone who will help you make a plan to get back on track.”
Setting boundaries is the only way to make sure you protect your own sanity and sobriety – and remember, you can’t truly help others unless you take care of yourself first!
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