For your recovery you made a commitment to yourself to say no to substance abuse. This was your first course of action. In order to stay sober one must also learn to say no to other situations that may impede recovery and your overall well being. Learning to say no requires you to accept the fact that you have the right to say no.
No one has power over you, not even your employer. With regard to employers, you may need to weigh the outcome if you choose to say no. If they are asking you to do something illegal, then it’s a no-brainer to say no. In cases of sexual harassment and unwanted advances, you must say no, even if you are frightened of those in power over you. However, no one can have power over you unless you let them.
Then there’s saying no to working overtime (OT). This is where choice and diplomacy happen, though neither of them may be welcome from your employer’s perspective. Could you lose your job by saying no? Does your contract state you must work OT. You must ascertain what is at stake, and act on your best interests. Perhaps this is the third request for OT in a month, you are bone tired and your family life is suffering because of it. You could do the OT and make a decision to look for another job.
Another example of saying no is if a friend or someone you’re in a new relationship with, asks you to go to the movies on a certain evening. You may feel obliged to say you’ll go with them, even though you’re really not up for going to the movies or seeing the featured film. Here’s where people pleasing can take over. Ask yourself if you say, no will it really jeopardize your friendship or the new relationship. If you think it will, then you may want to reconsider getting involved with an inflexible person.
Saying no doesn’t have to be finite. Just like with your employer, you have options. In sobriety you’re in control of your life, and you can offer a compromise. I’d love to go, but that film isn’t really my cup of tea, or, that sounds like a lot of fun, but can we make it another night?
Learning to say no like many things in recovery, takes practice. Maybe you’ll fumble a bit the first few times you try, but eventually you’ll see that the earth doesn’t stop spinning, and most important, that your decisions are validated.
Cypress Lakes Lodge offers treatment for addiction in a peaceful, remote, oxygen-rich environment. The program encompasses holistic addiction therapy for the mind, body, and soul. The focus is on physical, mental, and emotional well-being by generating the balance of life-enriching treatment, wellness, and healthy, sober, sustainable relationships. Call us to get started: 409-331-2204