When addiction develops, substance use takes priority in your life. In recovery, it is important to maintain positive relationships and avoid the relationships that influence harmful behavior. Depending on your age, you may discover the effects of substances through peers. You may even find yourself surrounded by friends that encourage substance use. However, recovery requires more than quitting your substance use; it requires you to rid your life of the people that enable and contribute to your triggers to use.
Evaluating Your Relationships
While it might be obvious to recognize what friends or friend groups contribute to your substance use, it might be more difficult to recognize who else may be toxic to your recovery. After being in a bad or harmful relationship, you might struggle to understand what a healthy friendship looks like.
When evaluating your relationships, try to recognize what friends put your recovery first and support you in your journey. If you have friends that still use drugs or alcohol, it does not mean that they are bad people. It means that those people will try to encourage you to use. No matter the age, people want to experience similar altered states of mental consciousness with other people. It is crucial that you do what you can to avoid these people entirely so that they do not cause damage to your treatment and recovery journey.
While you are evaluating your friendships and relationships, reflect specifically on:
- The friends that always need to be drinking or using drugs
- The friends that always seem to be discussing some drama
- The friends that enable your substance use
- The friends that do not openly support your recovery
- The friends that struggle with their own mental health conditions
- The friends that continuously criticize you and your actions
- The friends that always seem to be negative
Look For Positive Qualities, Too
From the opposite perspective, you can also look for positive qualities in the friends that you believe will add to your recovery experience.
Reflect on qualities such as:
- The friends that support your recovery journey
- The friends that make you feel comfortable
- The friends that want the best for you
- The friends that share similar interests outside of substance use
- The friends that help foster healthy habits when dealing with stress
- The friends that encourage self-discovery and foster personal growth
Your recovery and health must be the most important thing in your life to achieve lasting recovery. It is essential that you learn to separate yourself from the people in your life who encourage substance use and cause you to experience stress and anxiety. As you learn to work through these emotions in a healthy way, you must avoid any unnecessary additions of stress.
How to Cut Ties With Toxic People
There is no right way to cut ties with someone. In most cases, no matter how you say it, the other party will not take it lightly. Speak with a therapist or counselor who can offer you guidance on making your recovery process go more smoothly. Further, professional help will provide you with ways to navigate and manage any negative responses and emotions that you may experience.
While you evaluate your relationships and reflect on the person you’d like to be, here are some general tips that may help when looking to cut ties with a friend.
- Establish Boundaries: Boundaries help you keep yourself accountable, especially in your recovery. Do you think it is best to quit all communication with this friend? Is there a realistic way to avoid them altogether? Create boundaries that you will be able to follow. It might mean stopping all discussions about drugs and alcohol, only seeing a person at a sporting event, or cutting ties altogether.
- Practice Honesty: Try not to beat around the bush when you decide to have a conversation with a toxic friend. Be confident about the person you would like to become and that their behavior will not benefit your recovery. Be honest if you need to end a friendship so that neither of you has to wonder why.
- Avoid Feelings of Guilt or Shame: You will likely experience feelings of guilt for ending a relationship. You should neglect to feel guilty about doing something good for yourself- as you deserve it! If they are a true friend, they will support your attempt at recovery. Maybe in the future, they will realize their harmful behaviors on their own and want to make amends.
Recovery requires you to evaluate many different categories of your life, including your relationships. Toxic relationships enable you to think, feel, and behave in certain, often unhealthy, ways. When your life becomes overwhelmed with addiction, you are more likely to prioritize the friends that enable your substance use. When this happens, it is time to reach out for help. At Clearfork Academy, we can help you recognize the toxic relationships that contribute to your feelings of stress and negativity. It is essential that you evaluate your relationships to deem what friendships need to be cut out of your life and what ones need to be more emphasized. When you are ready, we are here to help you. We offer a range of treatments and therapies to assist teenage males in evaluating boundaries and practicing honesty. Remember, your recovery comes first. Let us guide your recovery journey. To learn more, reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 866-5212.