The Art of Saying “No” (March 20, 2018)

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself struggling to set boundaries with others. The idea of saying “no” to a request instead of automatically saying “yes” can be a challenge, sometimes even heartbreaking.

Most people in recovery find that they had the “disease of saying ‘yes’” before entering recovery. “Yes” to that drug. “Yes” to that purchase. “Yes” to that extra appointment on the schedule. The problem with this is that when you say “yes” all the time, it begins to lose value. Additionally, we begin to lose sight of ourselves and our journey. When we say “yes” to everything we tend to travel the journey that others push us towards.

Through the power of saying “no” we can begin to empower ourselves to engage in our own journey. Recovery is about boundaries. The first one you established was between your addiction and/or mental illness and yourself. You said, “I’m not okay with how life is anymore” and you changed it. That “no” changed the trajectory of your life.

Here are some ways to re-engage in your journey by embracing the power of “no.”

First, be aware of what your core values are. If the request or item does not fit into those values, re-evaluate whether or not you want to commit to it. A great example of this is, if someone asked you today to drink with them, you would need to take a step back and evaluate what your values are. If they are to remain sober and compliant with your program, then the automatic answer is “no.”

Life Journey
All of us are at different parts of our life’s journey. This tends to define what we are able to commit to. So saying “no” might really mean, “not right now.” That’s a little bit easier to swallow, right? Life transitions are a time when the art of saying “no” is key. Just bought a house? Maybe saying “no” to the friend who asked for a loan is the right step.

What Feeds You
Remember that previous email from PRN that talked about feeding the wolves? The same applies here. Does this request, obligation, appointment, purchase feed you or drain you? Sometimes saying “no” to a non-essential thing that drains you is okay.

Focus on the Journey
Set some goals and work towards them. If something does not help you progress towards that goal, it might be time to say “no” to it. If your goal is to remain in recovery, then there are some things that might clearly be violations of that goal. Keeping your goals clearly in your mind will help you say “no” when you need to and “yes” when appropriate.

Below are some additional resources on saying “no”. Enjoy!

Guilt-Free Ways to Say No- HERE
Three Ways to Set Boundaries- HERE

Posted on: March 20, 2018


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