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How to Deal with Those Trying to Sabotage Your Recovery

It is an uncomfortable thought, but there are probably people you know who would prefer if you did not recover from addiction. These individuals do not necessarily mean you harm, at least not consciously, but their behaviour can sabotage your recovery. It is vital that you develop a strategy for dealing with those who would get in the way of your happiness.

Why Would Anyone Want to Sabotage Your Recovery?

One group of people who may try to get in the way of your recovery are those who are still drinking or using drugs. These individuals can see your attempt to change as reflecting badly on them; maybe it reminds them that there is a better way of living. Many of these people may be in complete denial about the need for recovery and may see your decision to change as unnecessary.

Former drinking or drug using friends can try to sabotage your recovery by encouraging you to drink or use drugs again. These individuals may even go so far as to actively sabotage you; there are examples of individuals in recovery being given 'spiked' drinks with alcohol from former drinking buddies. It is vital that you are careful around such people. You do not have to cut them out of your life completely (although some do decide that this is for the best), but you will certainly want to limit your contact with these individuals at least until your sobriety is strong enough to handle them.

One of the other ways that these friends can sabotage your recovery occurs less consciously. It could be that just being around them triggers your old alcohol or drug using identity, and you start to think as you did in the past. For example, the humour used by alcoholics tends to be extremely cynical and it can actually start to sap your motivation for staying sober.

A less likely source of resistance to your recovery can come from your partner or dependants. This can occur due to co-dependency whereby the other person has become so used to taking care of your needs that they feel threatened by your new sobriety - this resistance can occur subconsciously. There can also be resentment from family members because your sobriety can mean serious changes to the way things work in the household. Even though things may have been very bad in the past, it is human nature to find comfort in the familiar.

There are also going to be people who are in recovery but are caught up in 'stinking thinking'. One of the effects of this is that the person can be cynical about sobriety and he or she may enjoy sharing this cynicism with a newly sober person. These individuals are usually on the edge of relapse and are looking for others to take with them in the hope that it will make them feel less bad about the decision.

How to Deal with People Who Are Sabotaging Your Recovery
  • Avoid spending time with those who are trying to encourage you to drink or use drugs again.
  • If you are drinking at a social occasion, never allow your glass to go out of your sight - if you return from the toilet, it is best to buy a new drink.
  • If you feel you need to go to an event where people are drinking, it is best to bring along a sober companion for support - just make sure that their sobriety is solid.
  • Keep away from the cynics in recovery because these people want to bring you down.
  • Understand that it is going to take a bit of time for your partner and family to adjust to your new attitude in life - just keep on doing what you need to be doing to stay sober.
  • If somebody is a danger to your recovery, it might be best to cut him or her out of your life completely.
  • Make staying sober your number one priority and never let anything get in the way of it.
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