In early recovery everything can seem like it’s coming right at you and that can be really scary. As you begin to regain your clarity, the world can seem a little too bright and go a little too fast. Well meaning folks around you have opinions and suggestions about how you should travel on your sobriety path. The haunting of your past, those “friends” you drank and used with may be calling, knocking on your door to get you back out with the “fun” crowd. In the midst of all this you’re doing everything you can to establish a place of safety for yourself and your sobriety. A good way to start to build that place is to set boundaries.

The Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall” contains the phrase “good fences make good neighbors”. Loosely interpreted, it means that having solid boundaries between neighbors promotes respect between them. By clarifying what’s on your side and what’s on theirs you’ll both be able to co-exist without any, or many, issues.

For some of us building boundaries can be an overwhelming task. You may have had too many or too little boundaries set for you as a child. You may have no idea where to start, how to say no, what to say no to and what to let in to your new life. As a way to ease into this, let’s think of building boundaries like building fences. A clear, distinguishable metaphoric barrier you can erect to stand behind and lean on to feel safe.

You’ll need tools to build your fences. So get your toolbox and pull out clear communication. Those around you won’t know what you need if you don’t tell them. The prospect of speaking up about what you will and will not accept can be daunting. You may meet with some resistance, others may accuse you of acting out or pushing them away. Stand firm at your fence and see your boundaries as an act of safety.

Now pull acceptance out of your toolbox. Allow others to speak about what they think of your requests, and listen. They may have concerns, or be in total agreement. They very well may have boundaries of their own. Remember – there are two sides to every fence. Inasmuch as you want people to respect your boundaries you in turn must also respect theirs. Mutual respect is key to achieving the calm and peace you need to wind your way through your new found sobriety.

Fences give one a sense of home, a feeling of comfort and protection. You can find that sense of peace by building good, strong emotional fences that will stand with your convictions and help you build faith in yourself. So get out those tools and begin to build.

Do you have trouble finding your toolbox? Need support using, or need to put more tools in your box? Maybe someone you know or work with could use support building their fences. The Recovery Coach NY provides individual and family coaching, companions & transport, Intervention and emergency services for you and your loved ones. For more information, and additional services, go to our website:



The Recovery Coach NY has years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find the path to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.

You can reach out to Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach NY via:

Phone or text: 631-921-4085

Email: [email protected]

Through her website: