Toxic Friendships in Recovery
When you were in active addiction, you were in a strange situation. You had friends, but at the same time you were isolated. Your addiction might have driven your true friends away because it was impossible for them to stand back and watch you destroy your life. You might think that they are not good friends, but the reality is any friend who supports your alcohol and drug use is not a friend at all.
The same “friends” who supported your habit or even used with you are not going to be there for you during your recovery. Actually, they might try to sabotage your sobriety.
Haters Are Going to Hate
There are people in your life who want the best for you and some who want to take you off your path. But how do you know if there is someone in your life trying to sabotage your recovery? Some people are blatant about it. They:
- Discourage you from seeking help.
- Deny that you have a problem.
- Tell you that treatment is a waste of time.
- Tell you that you will fail or relapse.
- Encourage you to continue using.
However, not all people are so obvious in their attempts to keep you from sobriety. Some people:
- Use your past behavior against you.
- Make it difficult for you to go to meetings or therapy sessions (make excuses to avoid giving you a ride, etc.).
- Minimize your progress and efforts to stay clean and sober.
- Play into your insecurities and fears.
The thought of friends trying to derail your progress toward sobriety is disappointing and infuriating. They may have different reasons for sabotaging you. Your drug or drinking buddies might feel that they are losing your friendship because of your sobriety. Or perhaps they foresee you preaching to them. They may also feel bad because they might have been unsuccessful in recovery in the past. Also, your friends might be in denial about their own drinking or drug use and might have to face reality after you’re out of their circle.
Cleaning out Your “Friend Zone”
Taking action against these “friends” is going to be difficult, especially if you have known them for a long time. In the end, your recovery and your life is top priority and you don’t need any negativity getting you off track. If these people are willing to make a change and address their own issues, then perhaps your friendship doesn’t have to end. You can reconnect with them after they take action and get treatment for their problems.
The upside to “cleaning house” is that you fill it with positive people. Going to AA or NA meetings and therapeutic groups introduces you to a new group of people who understand you, the disease of addiction and support your recovery. Remember, you don’t have to go through recovery alone; there are people waiting to be there for you.