In honor of National Addictions Awareness Week, November 12th-18th, 2017, I am sharing insights about addiction(s) from guests on the Women Warriors podcast. Each of these guests has struggled with addiction(s) and are open about their healing and recovery. Their full podcast interviews can be accessed on the podcast section of this site.
A special feature this week includes season 2 podcast guest, Juanita Lindley sharing her insights in a post about boundary setting for those in recovery (featured below).
- Her dark period of addiction after her mother’s murder in Edmonton.
- How she started her healing journey and accessed professional help.
- Her journey to sobriety.
- Her healing resources.
- Her struggles with alcohol addiction.
- How traditional treatment & ceremony helped her heal.
- The day she decided to quit drinking alcohol.
- Her advice on going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
- Navigating drinking culture.
by Juanita Lindley BGS, CHADII
A boundary is an affirmation to self that you are important, and that you value yourself enough to have them. Having boundaries is like drawing an invisible line – it’s the space where you end the other person begins. During childhood, boundaries are built in by the way our family responds in a situation and we may learn that it’s normal to be mistreated. When the sense of identity is not present and replaced with addictive behavior it’s likely that boundaries are not a priority.
When recovering from active addiction having boundaries is presented as easy, and as though everyone has them. The reality is that setting boundaries for the recovering addict is challenging, and our friends and family on the receiving end struggle accepting them, and there may be setbacks. We first must understand that having boundaries to say no to a substance is a much larger practice and takes time.
In my personal experience, I was fearful to set boundaries in early recovery because I did not want to appear disrespectful or self-righteous towards my family and friends. At first, setting boundaries felt like a literal battle and I was ready to fight for what I needed. It also felt like an out-of-body experience because the brain and body are experiencing rapid change during early recovery. It’s also about learning to find your voice, but more importantly your self-worth.
What does setting a boundary sound like? Identify what you need in a situation. For example, I remember when I first set the “no alcohol or drugs in my home” rule and had a group of friends drop by to drink, as was the norm prior to my shift in my mindset. I recall my fear – the way my voice quivered – when I told them no alcohol and they need to understand and respect my space. It was really hard for me to say no. I remember my honesty coming out and they were like, “oh shit ok I am sorry, we can go.” I cried afterward because it was an emotionally charged incident and I was unsure of the response I would receive. I was proud of myself at the time because I learned at that moment I was going to change my life.
I know my experience is unique but the commonality for all us is, we have a divine right to grow and evolve in our lives. We are worthy of having the full experience that our soul has come to learn. Boundaries are a way of loving yourself enough to create the space to live the life you deserve. No one has a right to steal or impose his or her shit on you. If they do, then you are allowing it to happen. Finding balance and grace in the way those boundaries are delivered is also a form of self-respect.