Helping a loved one through the turbulent journey of addiction recovery is a noble effort. Wanting your loved one to transform and succeed takes dedication and empathy in equal measure. It is essential to set boundaries between yourself and their recovery efforts.
While helping them through this time is important, caring for yourself and maintaining a healthy personal life is just as important. Creating clear boundaries early on in recovery can help establish a healthy relationship with your loved one’s sobriety while tending to your own emotional, mental, and social needs.
The Need for Boundaries
While it may seem counterintuitive to create space and set firm boundaries when supporting a friend, family member, or loved one in their recovery journey, it is necessary. Recovery from addiction is stressful for all involved, including supports. Taking a break and making time for your interests, friends, and hobbies is crucial to maintaining serenity.
The denial of these aspects can quickly cause burnout or fatigue. This can make it more difficult to effectively and empathetically care for your loved one. Boundaries also ensure that your needs are being tended to in the same capacity.
It can be nearly impossible to effectively support others if you are not in a clear state of mind yourself. When pouring energy in your stress outlets, maintain personal space, and get plenty of rest to promote self-care. These barriers are crucial not just for your health, but also for your continued role as a support.
You Don’t Need to Know Everything
Recovery from addiction is very personal, and you may feel as if you are constantly tip-toeing around sensitive issues in an attempt to ensure that you do not inadvertently and negatively impact your loved one’s sobriety. However, this kind of stress placed upon yourself is unfair and unnecessary.
As your loved one enters a treatment facility or continues their recovery efforts at home, it is crucial to keep in contact with professionals you have met in their recovery network. Supports are not intended to always have the answers. Knowing when a situation or crisis may be too much and contacting established professionals can be the most important skill in your repertoire.
Not only does this ensure that your loved one is getting the right care in their present circumstance, but it also takes the burden of success off your shoulders. Not having all the answers puts a barrier between yourself and expectations that will not ever be met. Keeping phone numbers saved and lines of communication open can be instrumental in providing the best path towards the road of continued sobriety.
Talk About Escape Plans and Contacts
Being by the phone or otherwise available for your loved one while navigating their sobriety can be incredibly important. Understanding or responding to the need to enact an escape plan creates an important prioritization of your loved one’s sober lifestyle.
However, your availability is a conversation, and you should not compromise your own livelihood and hobbies to play this role at all hours of the day or night. Having an open discussion, as a support, about your availability and to what degree you can support them is imperative.
This allows those in recovery to balance their own support system while also not asking for you to compromise your own life, hobbies, or professional obligations at all hours of the day. Having clearly defined times when you are available and when you will not be accessible promotes healthy time management skills while ensuring that your peace of mind is preserved to some degree.
Connecting with others who are supports for your loved one can also alleviate some of the burden. When everyone is working together to ensure that at least one person is available at any point in time, the door is open for breaks, relaxation, and rest.
Keep Your Interests Separate
Hobbies are essential in recovery. You should still maintain your own hobbies and interests outside of supporting your loved one. It may be tempting to invite your loved ones to explore these areas with you as they fill their newfound free time with sober activities, but this also carries a number of risks. Keeping your book club, sports club, or other hobbies separate can be essential to maintaining your serenity.
Being a support is stressful, and having an outlet where you can mentally detach and distract yourself from these daily stresses is paramount. These outlets, continuing to exist outside of an addiction recovery context, can be instrumental in tackling the stressful moments of being a support during the day.
Starting new hobbies alongside your loved one can be a great practice in establishing a new relationship with those in recovery networks. Keeping at least one consistent outlet separate from your loved one and relaxing is necessary for your mental health.
Creating boundaries may seem counterintuitive as a support, but it is necessary in order to balance your mental wellbeing with your role as a support. At Avalon Malibu, we champion the role that personal supports play and are prepared to help you continue to navigate this delicate time while making time for your interests and needs. Our supportive community not only acts to help individuals find their own personal outlets and coping strategies but our family programs can also create an atmosphere for families and supports to come together in a safe environment and create a plan that works for all. There is no shortage of stress in recovery, and continuing to maintain your own mental wellbeing is essential for your role as a support as well as your own personal endeavors. For more information on how we can help you and your loved ones in recovery, call (844) 857-5992.