Setting boundaries. Ugh.
It’s something nearly all of us alcoholics and addicts have trouble doing. Setting boundaries or staying clear of boundaries someone else has set for themselves, it seems like it’s always hard to stay in bounds. Drawing lines can be difficult, and then, staying inside of the lines you draw, that can be even harder.
I returned to my rehab center for a group after what seems like a long vacation. And, it was good to see the faces of my peers in recovery. It’s a place where I’ve set some boundaries, and, let go of some too. Today, everything seems even keel. Easy. Even the characters that push my buttons, they didn’t seem to annoy me today. The release I got from having the holiday season end has provided me with a calm and peace that seems to have spread into all facets of my life.
As we talked about our boundaries, ones we have to enforce, ones we have trouble setting at the get-go, it occurred to me how little I’d valued myself in the past, before getting sober. It made me sad. How, I’d allow pretty much anything to happen to me, any boundary, little or big, to be breached. All because I didn’t care enough to defend myself. How I accepted my lot, because, there wasn’t a better one.
These days, I’m reminded of how much I’m worth. Yes, because I have people validating me, but, also, because I’m beginning to see my own value. It’s still hazy, and shifts on a daily basis, but, I have this view of myself now, and I can see value. I can see where setting boundaries is important, and protecting them is even more important.
As I prepare to graduate from rehab, start my job hunt, and stay sober, I have become aware of how important it is that I maintain the foundation I’ve built. It’s strong, but, it’s a structure that still would benefit from some scaffolding. A safeguard. And, boundaries are a big part of that safeguard. They’re about knowing where you stand, and taking action, if necessary, to ensure that you can continue to stand where you want to be.
So, even when lost and flailing, I’ll paint my lines in the ball court. And while I may dribble from one end of the court to the other, I’m going to be mindful of those lines that I’m not going to cross. The lines that keep me in bounds. Here, playing ball, all alone.