How Do I Set Boundaries With Old Friends After Opioid Treatment?

May 2, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

When you complete an opioid treatment program and return home, you may encounter many challenges. One of the primary causes of these challenges is that you have changed. While your changes have been necessary for your recovery, old friends might not understand the new you. Either consciously or not, some old friends might try to sabotage your efforts to maintain your sobriety. Fortunately, in treatment, you learned how to deal with these situations and know how to set boundaries that help protect your recovery.

Life After an Opioid Treatment Program

If you have struggled with opioid addiction, you know how much it can impact your life. The need for opioids can dominate how you choose to spend your time and money and who you choose to spend time with. Therefore, people in your life will get used to your choices and have expectations for how you live your life.

However, an opioid treatment program might be the first step to changing your life. To stay sober, you will need to create new habits and a lifestyle that supports your sobriety. This will include developing self-care strategies and having relationships that support your sobriety and choices. While this might seem impossible, you can continue to learn how to set effective boundaries and create new and healthier relationships.

Maintaining Sobriety After an Opioid Treatment Program

Opioid addiction affects millions of individuals, and Buena Vista Recovery believes that an opioid treatment program is the first step to reclaiming sobriety. However, after treatment, you will still need to change your life. This includes adjusting your relationships and creating new relationships that support your recovery journey.

Making changes to your community will support your recovery in multiple ways. For example, when you have relationships that encourage your sobriety, you are more likely to prioritize sobriety. This approach is called community reinforcement and has been used effectively for decades to help people maintain sobriety. Therefore, when you run into problems, these relationships can help keep you sober.

Setting Boundaries

Relationships in your life will continue to grow and evolve. However, the direction of this evolution can be impacted by how you interact with people. Setting boundaries is a skill that can help to create changes in your relationships to make them healthier and more authentic.

The basic definition of setting boundaries is communicating what you are okay and not okay with in terms of your interactions and participation with others. For example, saying you are not okay with spending time together at a bar is a boundary. This might cause a shift in certain relationships. However, it is also a boundary that could be vital to your successful recovery.

Preventing Triggers and Addressing Resistance

While they’re not necessarily easy to set, boundaries are essential in recovery. When you have struggled with opioid abuse and addiction, you likely know others with similar habits that can trigger you. The triggers might include where you spend time or how you spend time together.

Additionally, individuals you knew while using opioids may disagree with your decision to get sober. This resistance can be expressed differently in different relationships, but commonly it includes pushing you to join them or openly disagreeing with your choice. In this case, setting boundaries may include subjects you will communicate with them about.

In theory, setting boundaries is fairly simple. However, in practice, it can feel difficult. Treatment at Buena Vista Recovery can help you to learn the necessary skills. The first step is learning what boundaries you need to set. This will be unique to you and can change over time. Speaking with a therapist or loved one can help. The next step is to communicate your boundaries. Practicing what you are going to say can help. Additionally, finding a method of communication and a location you are comfortable with can help. For example, try meeting for coffee or even sending an email.

Creating New Relationships

While creating boundaries in existing friendships can help, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, friendships you had while using opioids may not have the capacity to change enough to support your sobriety. Fortunately, there is an alternative. That is creating new relationships in recovery!

After finishing an opioid treatment program, you can create new relationships that support your new direction. However, making new friendships can be difficult. If it is something that seems foreign and uncertain to you, that is okay. It is natural to feel nervous about new relationships. With practice, you will form relationships that help you to stay sober and support you in a healthy and productive way.

Creating new relationships starts with meeting people. In recovery, this might include meeting others through activities you enjoy, at work, or through alumni events at a treatment center. These locations can set you up for success by helping you meet others interested in activities outside of substance use. The next step is to get to know them, practicing the communication skills you learned in an opioid treatment program.

Many people may look at you differently when you decide to get help for your opioid addiction. Unfortunately, some people may try to sabotage your recovery. However, you can set boundaries with old friends who may disagree with your decision to get clean. You can also create new friendships with people in recovery, which can be very helpful for your sobriety. At Buena Vista, we understand that recovery comes with many changes. Our treatment program can help you learn the necessary communication skills to navigate changing relationships. We understand your need for boundaries, how to communicate them, and how to form new and healthy relationships after treatment. To learn more about our programs, call (480) 741-9414 today.