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Boundaries - from the Recovery Learning Series at SupportNet.ca - Resources for Your Recovery

Recovery is learning to enjoy life - without the use of alcohol or drugs that alter mind or mood.

It is treatment for the condition of addiction - an approach to the challenges of life - and a path to personal growth.

Recovery requires us to learn - about the true nature of addiction.

It may be personalized - but it has its necessary Principles and its Ways.

The Principles of Recovery provide direction - to the choices that we face each day.

The Ways of Recovery provide us with tools - that help us to heal - and to enjoy life on life’s terms.

This Learning Seminar introduces the topic of Boundaries -

What you need to know about healthy Boundaries - how they can empower your recovery - and help you to respect the ability of others.

Understanding Boundaries

Boundaries refer to the distinction - between what is me right now - and everything else that is not.

Boundaries usually refer to the relations between two people.

Healthy boundaries exist when I see the difference - between my needs and the needs of another - between what is mine to change about my self - and what is not mine to control in another person.

Tangled boundaries develop when I confuse the difference between my needs and the separate life of another.

An example may be that I quietly manipulate another person to do something - that is more to my interest than to theirs.

Tangled or confused boundaries create all sorts of stressful complications within families or between partners.

The huge challenge of boundaries is that they are only seen when they are healthy.

Tangled boundaries are invisible to the one who is confused.

And it is for this reason that boundary problems persist - creating stressful complications over years or decades of time.

Boundaries have to do with the way that we see our self in relation to others.

But boundaries do not only apply to the distinction between people.

Boundaries also apply to time - and to other ways that we conduct our life.

Boundaries in time indicate the difference between what is now - what is in the past - or within an imagined future.

One Day at a Time is a traditional phrase that reminds us to stay in the day.

This powerful message helps us to counteract the sick conditions of regret - resentment - worry - shame and fear.

It is the mind that tangles the boundaries of time.

My boss compliments me for being an honest employee. But my mind jumps to something that I did wrong at another job several years ago. 

Instead of accepting the compliment for my behavior today - I am reminded of shame for an action long past.

There are many other ways that we confuse the boundaries of who we are right now.

And it is this confusion that brings all manner of stress, conflict and frustration to our life.

A powerful principle of recovery is to learn to see the distinction between who we are and who we are not - and between what is now and what is past.

Letting Go

The only way to step out of our confusion - is to learn how to let go of the stuff that is not ours to change right now.

The Serenity Prayer helps us to recall the distinctions important to keep in mind.

Grant me Serenity - to Accept the things that I cannot change - Courage to change the things that I can - and Wisdom to know the difference.

It is exactly our effort to control things that we cannot change right now - that is the result of our tangled boundaries - and the cause of much of the stress that we bring to our life.

Take a step back - and let others make the best decisions that they can about their life.

Help them by showing respect for their ability - and allow others opportunity to learn for their self.

Let go of your effort to change other people - in service of things that you want for your self.

Notice the thoughts on your mind - as it may drift to a troubled past - or to an imagined future.

Regret for the past and worry for the future are energies drained from today.

Take a breath in through your nose - and deep to the bottom of your belly.

Ground your self in your body right now - and let go of the wandering worries on your mind.

Question everything. Take a break from reacting. Sit back and just watch for a while.

Is this really my problem to fix? Do I say Yes - when I want to say - No. Am I acting on guilt from my past - or feeling the shame of another person’s behavior? Is my mind here right now? And are the thoughts on my mind really me? - Or are they echoes of things said to me years in the past?

Much of the stress that we bring to our life - is a result of our struggle to control things - not ours to control right now.

Learning to let go is acceptance of our personal boundaries.

Healthy boundaries help us to see things as they truly are - to conserve our personal energies - and to show our respect for the ability of others.

In Summary

Boundaries refer to the distinction - between what is me right now - and everything else that is not.

Tangled boundaries bring all manner of stress, conflict and frustration to our life.

Healthy boundaries result in a more satisfying life - for our self, our family and friends.

You have now reached the end of Boundaries.

Look for this and other Learning Series topics at www.SupportNet.ca - Resources for Your Recovery.