Cutting Out Toxic People in Recovery

Have you recently finished a treatment program? If so, did you find yourself cutting out toxic people upon leaving treatment and reentering your life? Chances are the answer is yes. However, if you have not evaluated the health of some of your relationships, you may want to consider it. We often discuss the changes that will accompany life post-treatment. Cutting toxic people out of your life is one of those important changes. 

At the peak of drug or alcohol use, people often leave friends and family to spend time with people who share their interest in substance use. Getting back to daily life after a treatment program may be difficult because you must cut out toxic people to protect your sobriety. Doing so may feel wrong, lonely, or disloyal, but it is vital, especially to get over that first hump of early recovery.

Recognizing Toxic People

Often, "toxic people" refers to friends or partners you used to use or drink with. Being around people like this can tempt you unnecessarily and harm your recovery. However, other kinds of people can be similarly toxic. Toxic individuals may include people like these: 

  • Lairs lie to cover up deceitful or undesirable actions but ultimately create rifts between others. 
  • Gossips go around spreading private and potentially inaccurate information. 
  • Energy drainers can take more from you than you have to give, often due to low self-esteem or a need for attention.
  • Instigators like to cause trouble and mayhem wherever they go. They cause unnecessary drama and can be incredibly damaging to those around them. 
  • Manipulators can be particularly devious, using you for their benefit, often in ways that are detrimental to your well-being. 
  • Pessimists have a negative attitude about everything. Though this can seem harmless on the surface, over time, their negative energy can start to impact your feelings, thought processes, and outlook on life. 
  • Imposters, to put it simply, tend to be fake or two-faced. They put on a show for the world to see and act like someone or something they're not to impress or prove something to others. 

Any one of these types of people can threaten your sobriety and mental health. Unfortunately, they can also be challenging to cut out. It is, nevertheless, vital that you learn to do so. Fortunately, we can offer you a few tips and tricks for cutting out or handling these people from your life after leaving treatment. 

Cutting Out Toxic People From Your Life

In recognizing and cutting out people whose actions are harmful to your sobriety, there may be instances where you must deal closely with these people. Start these interactions by setting boundaries, then discuss the future of the relationship and why you may need to end it. If they are unwilling to understand where you're coming from or work on themselves, it's time to cut them out.

You can cut someone toxic out of your life by: 

  • Having a tough conversation and letting the person know how you feel
  • Starting to put space between you and potentially toxic individuals
  • Standing your ground, as a toxic person may try to manipulate or gaslight you
  • Setting boundaries and sticking to them
  • Not letting yourself get sucked into any mind games they may try to play
  • Surrounding yourself with positive, sober people
  • Talking to your therapist about the toxic person and asking for professional advice
  • Not expecting anyone to change — though it is possible, it does not always happen, and it's ultimately up to them
  • Prioritizing your physical and mental well-being instead of sacrificing it for toxic people
  • Learning to forgive the person but not forget things they have done

Unfortunately, when it comes to substance use disorder (SUD), avoiding toxicity is not only beneficial for your mental health; it is invaluable to your long-term recovery. 

Dangers of Not Cutting Out Toxic Individuals

Dealing with manipulators, liars, gaslighters, or any other type of toxic person can severely threaten your sobriety. Their dishonesty, mind games, and manipulations can cause you to question yourself and your recovery and trigger you to return to substances. These toxic relationships may also cause unnecessary distress that intensifies co-occurring disorders and hails the same result — an increased risk of relapse. 

Unfortunately, some people may exhibit toxic behaviors without even realizing it. This is when you can have honest conversations with them about their concerns. They might accept your feedback and begin working on themselves. However, if they don't, cutting ties with these individuals is vital if you hope to stay sober.

Cutting people off may initially seem cold, and it will never be easy to say goodbye to friends or loved ones who continue to engage in substance use or who display other toxic traits. Call NorthStar Transitions for support in cutting out toxic people in recovery today. 

Cutting out toxic people from your life post-treatment is a challenging but necessary part of recovery. Especially during early sobriety, the slightest trigger can increase your risk of relapse and worsen co-occurring disorder symptoms. Unfortunately, people and their behaviors can be major triggers. Toxic friends, relatives, or partners can cause you to second-guess yourself and your recovery, triggering you to drink alcohol or use drugs. The same goes for people who still actively engage in substance use. While it is not their fault, a decision to continue substance use can be harmful and lead to an overall increased risk of relapse. To learn more about cutting out toxic people in your life post-treatment, call NorthStar Transitions at (303) 558-6400

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