Many of us in early recovery find the dynamic of our family relationships gradually changes, and at times we need to set boundaries with which we are comfortable.
Personally, I found (and at times still find) it difficult to set boundaries with my family, mainly because while I was using, I was very dependent on them for financial help, housing and other supports.
Now, in recovery, as I become more independent, I find that unhealthy resentments can build up towards family members on whom a year ago I was very dependent. At times, they behave towards me as if I was still drinking – as if I was still as dependent on them.
This is when I have to put what I have learned about setting boundaries into practice. I am learning to be more honest about how some of their behaviours affect me. I have openly explained my current financial limitations, not because I want their help, but because I need them to understand that I cannot always afford to travel out of town to visit them.
I continue to have a very close and loving relationship with my family. At the same time, I am trying to help them understand who I am in recovery and that while I need their emotional support (something we all need) I also am learning to “fly on my own”. To do that, I have to set some boundaries.
It has been a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable process, one that continues today, but the rewards for me are well worth the effort.