Appropriate Boundaries

What are Boundaries & bottom Lines?

Download our Free Guide on Boundaries

Boundaries and Bottom Lines are an essential aspect of finding sobriety, and continue to guide and support long-term recovery.

Without boundaries and bottom lines, all of the other elements of recovery will be somewhat futile.

As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “Without sobriety, we have nothing to offer.”

SA Lifeline recognizes that until an addict has decided to stop and stay stopped, there is little that can be done to improve the situation.

Personal Boundaries

Boundaries are an essential element of recovery from betrayal trauma and an important factor for any relationship, especially those affected by addiction.

Help an Addicted Loved One

Creating boundaries is, as Rhyll Croshaw states in her book What can I Do About Me?, the most loving thing that can be done for an addicted loved one.

The Chaos of Addiction

Boundaries  help individuals remove themselves from the chaos & codependency of trauma & addiction. They help define what is and isn’t  acceptable.

Protecting Loved Ones

Boundaries help define what will happen if lines are crossed, protecting loved ones from the harmful consequences of addiction which inevitably disrupt their lives & prevent them from physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual wholeness.

Create a Safe Place

Boundaries are not a way to punish, manipulate, or shame an addict into changing their behavior. They are designed to create a safe place for the betrayed spouse or family member & create a clear path to living a principled, God-centered life in the midst of relationship.

Fair & Reasonable

A qualified therapist can assist a betrayed spouse and other family members in creating fair, reasonable boundaries. Sponsors are also an invaluable resource to help check that boundaries are God-centered, and not ploys for manipulation or taking control. 

More About Bottom Lines

Bottom Lines include self-defined patterns of behavior, situations, and habits from which the addict refrains in order to experience greater physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness. 

 Recovery begins with admitting that following an addictive pathway is making life unmanageable, and that one is powerless to stop. Bottom lines help to clearly define what behaviors are feeding into that addictive pathway. Effective bottom lines include not only actual acting out behaviors, but should also address the behaviors that habitually become the precursors to acting out. 

 A qualified therapist can help an addict to identify their personal addictive cycle and unique triggers that should be avoided to work toward a foundation of sobriety. Sponsors are another resource for addicts who are working their steps and desire to find recovery. Sponsors can help individuals understand what their bottom lines should be, and serve as an accountability partner to help them stay committed to their bottom lines. 

Download our Free Bottom Lines Worksheet Here

There are more worksheets and additional resources to help establish bottom lines available through our sister site,

How Do I set Boundaries in Recovery?

Setting Boundaries is a Practice

Boundaries and Bottom Lines are crucial in sexual addiction recovery for the addict as well as the betrayed partner.

Addicts need to set bottom lines around how they spend their time, who they talk to, media usage, how they manage difficult emotions, and many other things.

Partners of addicts need to set boundaries around behaviors that lead them to lose their serenity and send them into chaos and trauma.  Boundaries should always be attached to an outcome…If, then.  

Boundaries will be ineffective unless they are consistently enforced.

Living within appropriate boundaries is a practice for long-term recovery.