3 Ways to be Assertive

For many people, learning how to be assertive in recovery is very important, and can even help prevent relapse. Many women and men come into recovery with low self worth and feelings of guilt and shame. Additionally, once getting sober, many people realize that they are in unhealthy romantic and platonic relationships. One of the things I work with all my patients on in early recovery is helping them be more assertive in their relationships. It’s really important to feel like your thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs are valued and heard in recovery. However, this can be really hard to do. Here are some ways to start being assertive in early recovery:

Value Yourself More

The foundation of being assertive is knowing that you are just as valuable as any other person out there. In order to be assertive, it’s important that you value yourself, and others. This means that you value your thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants just as much as anyone else’s. You have to know and feel that your needs are important in order to be successful at being assertive. So do what you need to do in order to value yourself. Maybe that means starting an affirmation practice or talking more positively to yourself.

Say NO

No is a complete sentence. That’s right, No is a complete sentence. Meaning, you do not have to justify why you are saying no, you can simply say No. I realize this might be hard to do at first if you’re not used to saying no, so start with small things, and notice how it makes you feel. Once you feel comfortable with saying no to the small things, start saying no to bigger things.

Ask For What YOU Need

Making a choice to be sober is a big deal, and it’s important that you ask for what you need to support that choice. Sobriety is about learning how to live life differently. It’s about valuing others, but also valuing yourself. Make a list of what you need in order to stay sober, and identify who can support you in making those changes. For example, maybe your partner is still drinking and it is triggering you to have cravings. It’s okay for you to ask that there is no alcohol in the house and that your partner does not drink in front of you. This is NOT being selfish, this is practicing self-care for your recovery.

I hope these 3 tips for ways to be assertive in sobriety are helpful. At Silver Lining Counseling, Kristin Dickie works with all of her patents on being more assertive. Kristin is currently accepting new patients and can be reached on her cell phone at 704-237-7037 or through email at kristin@silverliningcharlotte.com.