One unexpected benefit of finding your way into recovery is that you pretty quickly learn who your real friends are. During active addiction, you are ironically both socially isolated and part of a drug-abusing community. You may spend a lot of time together and feel a bond based on your shared preoccupation with drugs. But that doesn’t mean those people are your friends.

Not surprisingly, when an addict gets clean, their “friends” don’t always have their back. In fact, some become downright toxic to their recovery. Here are a few reasons the people you thought were your friends may end up sabotaging your recovery efforts:

• Addiction drives away most of an addict’s true friends.

• Whether they use drugs or not, your friends may not understand the disease of addiction. Even if they want to be supportive, many are in denial or don’t know how to stop enabling.

• Your sobriety spells the end of the friendship. Drug-using pals don’t want to lose a friend, but even more, they don’t want to stop using drugs.

• Your recovery holds up a mirror that shows them the reality of their lives – a vision they may not be ready or willing to see of themselves as an addict who needs help. They may be afraid that you’ll start preaching to them or rat them out to family, friends or law enforcement and put an end to their lifestyle.

• They have tried to quit unsuccessfully. It can be disheartening to see someone else succeed in what they can’t do so themselves.

• They don’t have a drug or alcohol problem, but want to continue to enjoy an occasional beer during a football game or glass of wine with dinner without worrying about their influence on you.

• A romantic partner or spouse may be concerned that your efforts to improve your life will lead to separation, divorce or finding someone else.

3 Comments to
Stop Haters from Derailing Your Recovery

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  1. Wow! So many of these examples are “spot on”. But IMHO, it’s not the bourbon-breathing “haters” who are THREAT #1…it is the people within an addict’s circle of trust who are confused about what role they should be playing, and like the addict, keep returning to the “old behavior” (enabling, blaming, compartmentalizing) that has been the status quo until now.

  2. Thank you for your article. My biggest trigger in AA has been 13th steppers. I was therefore surprised to see your choice of recovery photo as a guy and girl in fellowship together. “Men with the men, women with the women” is a recover slogan that got me farther than any of the others. Better than 90 meetings in 90 days, better than people-places-things. Work the 12 steps and fellowship with a sponsor and recovery network of the same gender!

    • Honest question re men-with-men and women-with-women…what if you’re gay/lesbian?

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