Mental health goes beyond any diagnosis we might receive. There are simple behaviors, thought processes, and activities every day which influence how positive or negative our state of mental health will be.
Lack Of Boundaries
We tend to be people-pleasers or people-avoiders. Either way, however we relate to people, as addicts and alcoholics, we tend to have an unclear sense of healthy boundaries with people. OUr boundaries might be too strict, causing us to be counter-dependent and avoidant. On the other hand, our boundaries might be too flexible, causing us to be codependent and needy or overbearing. Boundaries are healthy ways of defining how we say “yes” and how we say “no”. When we first get sober, we usually don’t have a clue about what we need, what we want, or even what we really like. Drugs and alcohol take over our brain and become the sole focus of our lives. Without boundaries, our lives are sort of in flux and chaos. We can get stressed out because we don’t get our needs met. Too much of that stress can trigger old coping behaviors and mechanisms. Until we get our boundaries straightened out to take care of ourselves, we become at risk for relapse.
No Time For Rest And Self-Care
One of the ways a lack of boundaries affects us is be creating a disorganized schedule which leaves no time for real rest or self-care. Self-care is the time we take to tend to our needs and nurture ourselves in the way we need to be cared for. When we are constantly on the go in whatever means that is for us, we don’t leave ourselves any time. Despite our highest thoughts of ourselves, we are not machines. We are human beings who need to chill out, relax, and receive from ourselves as much as we give to others.
Holding Grudges Against Yourself
If we were to present the cases we hold against ourselves to a jury of our peers and dearest loved ones, would they agree with our convictions? Probably not! They might tell us that we are far too difficult on ourselves and deserve to give ourselves a bit of a break. We are often our own worst critics. Shame and guilt are deeply and often toxically intertwined with addiction and alcoholism. Making ourselves feel ashamed, guilty, and unforgivable happens to be a speciality of ours. Unfortunately, that long term punishment accomplishes nothing. True change and transformation comes from forgiving ourselves and growing in new ways.