How to Release a Toxic Relationship to Save Your Sobriety

How to Release a Toxic Relationship to Save Your Sobriety

Toxic relationships can be more detrimental to recovery than people realize. Early in recovery, people are susceptible to the influences of loved ones and friends they surround themselves with, making it more important than ever to get rid of those relationships that are toxic. Cutting off toxic relationships is not about not seeing people ever again. It is more about putting distance between yourself and people who may threaten your sobriety with their behavior.

Setting Boundaries

Healthy relationships respect boundaries on both sides. Allowing people to be close to you who are mutually supportive and understand what your needs are in recovery can bolster your health and help you navigate the challenges with a better perspective. People who enter your life that do not support recovery or are in active addiction must be kept at a distance, Those who do not honor where you come from in your life and allow space for you to grow can be toxic for you to be with, eventually setting the stage for difficult conversations down the road.

Supportive Emotions

Any person who is in your life should support a healthy range of emotions as you navigate recovery. If they are not able to hold space for you to be angry, frustrated, sad, or other emotions, they may be pushing you away. It should be clear that they have healthy boundaries and will not let you hurt them but they should not try to force you to accept co-dependent behaviors, shaming, or other negative responses to your journey. If you are not sure if they are healthy for your recovery, step back a square and see it from a new lens. Sometimes stepping back from being in their space will tell you all you need to know about the health of your relationship. You may find that you are not wanting to engage them and can put a safe enough distance there so you can feel secure in the relationship with some distance.

When all else fails, talk to the people you trust the most. They may be neutral parties to what is going on and are not going to pressure you to do anything about the friendship other than listen. Getting perspective on relationships from the outside can help you draw healthy boundaries and navigate personal conflict carefully and with respect to everyone involved. Family and other group therapists may be able to help you navigate the journey, also, as you look to release toxic relationships from your life and move forward in recovery. Healthy relationships take time to build, have ups and downs just like anything in recovery but will become stronger for it in the long run.

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