January 01, 2023 By Leah Malone

Saying No and Saying Yes to Yourself as an Act of Self-Love


While in active addiction, you probably engaged in behavior or activities not aligned with your morals and values. Without alcohol to persuade your decision-making, acting from your authentic self is easier. Though, doing so requires self-love, which can be a journey.

Internal Boundaries as an Inner Guidance for Self-Love

Internal boundaries are not self-protection to keep others out, but inner guidance supports us. Many people who struggle with substance abuse have had traumatic experiences during childhood. Thus the inner guiding voice can be warped, justifying acting in ways that do not support your healthiest self or portray self-love. 

A disruptive upbringing that possibly led to addiction often carries other weight, like a disjointed level of confidence, a magnetism to unhealthy relationships, or an inability to see your worth.

Throughout the recovery process, you can cultivate a healthier guiding voice by:

  • Making a searching and fearless moral inventory
  • Owning your actions that support your addiction      
  • Committing to actions and behaviors that support your recovery

Fearlessly Confronting the Self

Step four of the 12 steps guides you to take a moral inventory. Being honest will be difficult sometimes, but the truth will set you free. In searching for yourself, you identify the areas where you may struggle. This ability to set internal boundaries with yourself will help guide you in making decisions that support your sobriety.

While in your addiction, you habitually lied. Upon taking inventory, you have determined that compulsive lying only supports your addiction and not your recovery. Valuing your life in recovery now, your decisions should reflect this. Lying does not support your recovery, as it is now against your morals. 

Set Internal Boundaries

Setting an internal boundary requires you to be vulnerable with yourself. It requires deep self-awareness and a level of self-love you may not be comfortable with yet. Having traversed the waters of substance use disorder (SUD), you have the ability to help you no longer enable your addiction. If you lied to others about your actions or behaviors, owning your role and committing to no longer do that is what an internal boundary would look like. 

Ownership Is Hard and Humbling

Although internal boundaries are mostly about yourself, at times, you will find that they do involve others. SUD impacts the lives of more than just the individual, and even if you are not yet ready to make amends, taking ownership of your actions that supported your addiction will benefit you. 

In taking ownership, you can clearly identify where you may need to set a boundary with others. For example, if you frequently manipulated family members to serve your needs, the internal boundary you hold with others surrounding this would first be owning and acknowledging the behavior to them and then making a conscious effort not to put yourself in situations where it would be easy for you to do so. 

Remember, recovery is a process, and learning new ways of being will take time and practice. Being committed to upholding the morals and values that you founded in recovery will help support you along the way.

Committing to Internal Boundaries Is Self-Love  

No one knows your journey in life and in recovery like you do. At times, you may even be your biggest supporter. These are the hardest of times, but in pulling through, you are now aware of your strength. 

Creating and maintaining internal boundaries will be difficult, but it will be worth it. Figuring out what works for you will be trial and error, as the recovery process is all yours. Committing yourself to practice internal boundaries is also a form of radical self-love. 

At the end of the day, you will always have yourself. It will be hard at times to relax into that thought. Find solace in the knowledge that you are building a healthier guiding voice throughout the recovery process. In a healthy and loving home, there are boundaries, and in the safety and love of sobriety, there are also boundaries.

Over time, you might find that the internal boundaries you set with yourself are met with less resistance. This is good; this is progress. Maintaining internal boundaries that align with your recovery goals helps move you forward; making healthier decisions and acting authentically becomes second nature. 

Boundaries as an Act of Self-Love

If you are one of the many who struggle with SUD, you may be familiar with the instability surrounding the issue of boundaries. Boundaries are a sensitive yet necessary topic, especially if internal and external boundary violations have supported your addiction. You owe it to yourself and your recovery to invest in yourself. Internal boundaries can be the beginning point in cultivating a healthier guiding inner voice. This budding inner guidance will help you make decisions supporting your values and morals in recovery. 

Acquiring a healthier inner voice will take time. Just as an addiction evolves over time, changing the ways, you behave, and action will take time and practice. Being committed to your sober lifestyle will help you keep behaving in ways that serve your recovery and not your addiction.  

Recovery from SUD can sometimes feel like two steps forward and one step back. Creating a support system and managing your recovery can often feel like a full-time job, and there will be days when caring for yourself is easier than others. On the days when it is hardest, you need to lean on your support system the most. If you or a loved one is struggling in their recovery from SUD, there is hope. Unique circumstances require a multifaceted approach to treatment, and at Grace Recovery TX, that is exactly what you will find. Our individualized program is tailored to offer you the support you need while working towards your greatest potential. Call us today at (737) 237-9663.      

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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