Why Saying “No” is an Important Part of Addiction Recovery

Once you finish a residential treatment program, you may feel ready to take on the world. You’re equipped with all sorts of strategies and skills to maintain your sobriety and a healthier lifestyle. You’re no longer under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are thinking more clearly and feeling stronger. But it is important to take things slowly when returning home so that you don’t derail the progress you have made.

A key skill to have is knowing how to say no. This doesn’t just mean declining drugs or alcohol. It also means saying no to offers or requests that may jeopardize your well-being. Taking on too much too fast can be overwhelming and increase your risk of relapse. It can make you feel more stressed and frustrated, making it harder to focus on self-care.

Don’t feel guilty. There is nothing wrong with making your well-being and recovery a priority. You have worked very hard to get to where you are and want to do what is best for your health. Everyone should feel confident enough to understand their limits and know when to say no, but many people do not. They try too hard to please everyone else and don’t want to let anyone down.

You may feel that since you were in addiction treatment that you need to make up for lost time or regain others’ trust by showing you can quickly bounce back and be an integral part of the team. But it is okay to say that you have enough on your plate right now and cannot take on other responsibilities. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Focus on the positives. Surround yourself with people who are respectful of your recovery and understand your need to prioritize. Realize that saying no – whether it is to taking on another project at work, going out to happy hour, or spending time with people who are a poor influence – is what is best for your health and well-being right now. Making your recovery a priority will allow you to keep doing things you enjoy in the future while maintaining your sobriety.

Learning to say no can help you stay committed to your recovery and build your self-confidence and self-esteem. It is okay to not always agree to everything; everyone needs balance in their life and to establish boundaries. Know what yours are.

Ask for help. Saying no can also be a great reminder to ask for help if you need it. Reach out to others to share the workload and responsibilities. If it’s something important, come up with a mutually agreeable solution or compromise so that things get done, but it’s not all on you. Seek out people who can help you manage your stress and are willing to listen and support you when you need it.

It can be tough to tell someone no, but it can also be empowering knowing you are doing what is best for you and your recovery. Be intentional and firm in your decision making. Use the tools you have developed in recovery to continue moving forward and thriving in sobriety. Crossroads helps women to feel more confident in saying no and understanding their needs for recovery and relapse prevention. From residential treatment to outpatient services, Crossroads works with clients along each step of the way so they can be more successful in overcoming addiction and rebuilding their lives.

[cta]Are you ready to overcome addiction and take back control of your life? Learn how to say no and much more at Crossroads.[/cta]