If you’ve struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, you know that the addiction can have a drastic and negative impact on your relationships. Because of that, after becoming sober, you may find yourself having to make countless apologies in order to start the healing process for those you may have hurt.
But what happens when your most toxic relationships haunt you after you’ve left rehab? If you continue to surround yourself with people you did drugs with or pessimistic individuals who make you feel bad about yourself, you are putting yourself in the type of environment that can set you up for a relapse.
Continue reading so that we can teach you how to get those toxic friends out of your life once and for all.
Make Evaluating Your Relationships Part of Your Recovery
Establishing a stable support system is one of the most important aspects of your sobriety. There’s no way you can start a fresh, healthy life while you’re still surrounding yourself with negative energy.
Instead, the people you’re around should help uplift you. So, evaluating your relationships needs to become part of your recovery plan.
If your answer is “no” to any of the following questions, the person you’re asking yourself about isn’t worth keeping in your life.
Does he/she make you feel good about yourself?
If you feel drained or bad about yourself after hanging out with someone, they shouldn’t have a place in your new sober life. People like this thrive off of inflicting pain or bringing drama into other peoples’ lives.
That old saying, “Misery loves company” is about people like this.
Are they willing to refrain from behaviors or habits that compromise your sobriety?
For example, it’s okay if they drink when you aren’t around, but if this person orders a drink when you go out to dinner with them, you should consider this to be a red flag.
Does this friend have your best interest at heart?
It’s normal to have some dark days or cravings after you’ve left rehab. At moments like these, your support system is more important than ever.
Because of this, you need to make sure the people around you have your best interest at heart. You want to make sure your friends are there when you need to vent about your feelings in a safe place.
Tips for Ending Toxic Relationships
There are several types of relationships that can be toxic. Whether a relationship is romantic, familial, or a friendship might cause you to slightly change your approach when it comes to cutting ties.
Use your best judgment and always make sure you are doing what’s best for you. The tips in this section can make the process a lot easier.
Eliminate Your Guilt
If you tend to be more of a people pleaser, this can prove itself to be difficult. Of course, you never want to go out of your way to hurt somebody’s feelings, especially if you once had a very close or long-term bond.
Remember that although breakup guilt is common, you can eliminate it. After all, you are cutting this person out of your life because they possess a quality or qualities that can hinder your sobriety.
Think About What You’ll Say
When you have an idea of what you will say to end a toxic relationship, you will find that you’re less anxious during the breakup process.
You don’t need to prepare an incredibly long speech or explanation. Just stick to some basic points like you are starting a new journey in life that they no longer fit into.
If you are shy, you might find that doing this through an email or letter is helpful. And if you opt for an in-person split, don’t do it at your house choose a public place.
Establish Your Boundaries
Cutting someone out of your life truly means disconnecting as many of the outlets you have in common as possible. You will have to take some time to think about what your exact boundaries are, but they can include things like:
- Blocking the person from all your social media accounts
- Avoiding places they frequently go to
- Making sure mutual friends know not to invite you to the same places
The most important part about setting these and other boundaries is to stick with them.
Making New, Positive Friends
Ending toxic relationships might mean cutting one or two people out of your life or it could include diminishing your entire social circle. This fully depends on the way you socialized prior to rehab.
With that said, establishing new, healthy relationships is just as important to your recovery as ending the bad ones. This is where you should start:
Join a Local Meetup
Part of becoming sober is stepping outside of your normal comfort zone. This means experimenting with different types of hobbies and meeting people who share those common interests.
You can go to a website like Meetup.com to find new groups of friends in your area. The options are limitless.
Whether you want to try out a softball league or join a book club, there’s something for everyone on that site. And if you have your own idea for a group you’d like to start, you can become a group organizer on the site too.
Check Out the Friends You Already Have
If you still have a couple of good friends left after breaking up with all of the toxic ones, turn to them to help you grow your friendship network. Chances are if the friends you already have are great, the people they’re socializing with are probably great too.
So, go to more social gatherings with your existing friends and see who you meet!
Be More Chatty
This one might seem a little weird. As adults, making new friends isn’t as simple as it was when you were still spending your afternoons in the sandbox.
But if you’re more chatty while you’re out and about during the day, you can end up making new, long-term friends or simply enjoy a pleasant encounter. The more social you are in your day to day life, the easier it will be to make friends in groups and other social settings.
Ready for a Fresh Start?
Toxic relationships don’t have a place in your new, sober life. Your fresh start should always include opening your mind to positive hobbies and people who will help you be your best self.
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