Recovery Workshop: Lesson Thirty-Seven

Identifying Personal Boundaries

By now you know that healthy boundaries are the laws by which you live. They are personal laws that you construct to protect the things that you value. Additionally, boundaries are the laws that others set for themselves. To live a healthy life, you must stay true to both.

The following are examples of possible boundaries:

Value: Build Trust w/My Partner

Rule #1 I will be honest with my partner at all times.

Rule #2 An omission of the truth is the same as a lie.

Rule #3 When I lie about the smaller details of an event, my partner has that right to assume that I am lying about the main details as well.

Rule #4 When I have been untruthful, I will accept responsibility and be held accountable exactly as outlined in our contract

Rule #5 On occasion, my partner has the right to take into account all of the circumstantial evidence to come to their own conclusions towards an event. They do not need absolute proof.

Rule #6 In a conflict, the most logical explanation will be the one that is accepted, with bizarre or unlikely excuses accepted only when they can be proven.

Value: Sexual Intimacy

Rule #1 I have the right to say no to engaging in any sexual behavior I'm not comfortable with — even if I have engaged in it in the past

Rule #2 If at any time during sexual engagement I start to feel uncomfortable, I have the right to stop without feeling guilty or embarrassed.

Rule #3 Sexual activity with me is a privilege that I reserve for those that I want to share myself with.

Rule #4 I will not allow myself to be pressured into changing my mind.

Rule #5 I will not feel guilty for telling my partner no.

Lesson 37 Exercise:

I. List three of your highest values (values prioritized within the top five).

II. For each value, list at least five concrete boundaries (rules) that you will use to protect that value.

III. Absolute boundaries are those boundaries that under no circumstances will you ever cross. These must be realistic AND you must hold them in reverence. Typically, everyone should have at least three such absolute boundaries. List three that you will use to help manage your life.

  • Absolute boundary #1: I will not do anything that I cannot openly tell my wife about.
  • Absolute boundary #2: I will act in the way that I want my son to act if he were in this situation.
  • Absolute boundary #3: I will act in the way that I want my daughter's husband to act if he were in this situation.

IV. Share these in your recovery thread.

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