In recovery, you learn the importance of setting boundaries to protect your mental and emotional health. Being successful in recovery requires healthy boundaries and learning how to uphold them. However, some individuals confuse boundaries with expectations, causing more hurt in their life than necessary. By defining the differences and learning their importance, you can live a happy, healthy life in sobriety.


Defining Boundaries


Boundaries are personal limits that you set to teach others how to treat you. They are there to show what you will and won’t allow, and they are generally more about personal comfort. In recovery, setting boundaries helps you protect your sobriety and avoid relapse. You may establish a boundary by disengaging from a relationship with a toxic friend or refusing to go to places where alcohol is served. 


Defining Expectations


Unlike boundaries, expectations do nothing to tell others of your limits. Instead, they are based on personal assumptions that can cause hurt if they stem from your perception rather than fact. For example, you may expect yourself to achieve certain milestones in recovery by specific deadlines and be disappointed when this doesn’t happen. You may also expect your family to welcome you back with open arms when you get sober, but this may not happen as quickly as you desire. Learning to manage your expectations and communicate is key to a healthy life.


The Relationship Between Boundaries and Expectations


Boundaries and expectations are related in that they help inform you of one another. For example, your boundaries will feed into your expectations, and your expectations will inform your boundaries. When you set and uphold boundaries, you expect that others will respect them. When your boundaries or expectations are broken, it can lead to disappointment or, worse, resentment. However, having others meet your boundaries and expectations helps build a foundation of trust. Learning how to successfully manage these is key to a successful life in recovery.


It is not uncommon for individuals to confuse expectations and boundaries, but knowing the difference can boost your recovery. By defining each, you can better identify each in your life and reexamine what serves your recovery and what doesn’t. It is also vital to teach yourself how to cope when boundaries and expectations are not met, as a volatile reaction can potentially lead to relapse. For further information on the importance of boundaries and expectations, Alta Loma Transformational Services is here to help. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 to boost your recovery.