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Who we connect to, and have relationships with, is a huge part of our lives. Our connections help to form our identity, influence our happiness, and often have an impact on our overall mental health. Our connections can greatly influence our recovery journey and need to be considered and evaluated throughout sobriety to ensure that we are surrounding ourselves with people who are good for our recovery. There are many different reasons why we may be surrounding ourselves with people who are not the healthiest of choices. While everyone has unique situations, these tips will help you to get started analyzing your bonds to ensure they are healthy and productive for you. Here are a few reasons why your connections may be negative. 

Feeling Obligated 

Oftentimes we feel an obligation to see our family, get together with them, maybe even live with them. We feel an alliance with them, a connection because we come from the same group. We find ourselves putting up with behaviors, making excuses, and harboring resentment all because we feel obligated to have a relationship with people who we consider our family. Having relationships that cause stress or anxiety can be detrimental to our sobriety. Understanding what your limits are and what you are willing to accept is key. Sometimes all it takes is a clear and concise conversation with our loved ones to better explain what we need from them to maintain our healthy living. 

Relationships That Enable 

Relationships with people who enabled your addiction in the past are among the most unhealthy for those recovering from addiction. As an addict, you probably found yourself in many enabling relationships. You made excuses for people, and they made excuses for you. Whether this dynamic was taking place between friends or family, it is not one you want to continue in your life of sobriety. Relationships such as these are dangerous and could lead to possible relapse. You worked so hard to get sober, go to treatment, and gain appropriate coping skills. Do not jeopardize your sobriety with relationships that can be avoided or managed with some thought. Often we view these relationships as unavoidable, simply because that is how they have always been. However, now that you are leading a sober life, situations may need to change. It is possible to change the dynamic of a relationship by putting in some effort and creating stable boundaries. This change could benefit not only the other person but you as well. 

Toxic Relationships 

When we have strong relationships with people, we grow very attached to them. It is hard to cut people from your life when they mean a lot to you, or they have been a part of your life for a long time. Sometimes it is hard to grasp the concept of that person–even their negativity–not being in your life. Who we choose to stay close to however, can impact our long-term sobriety. Stress has a profound impact on how we process our daily challenges. Remaining sober is a commitment you make every single day. Toxic relationships can add a layer of stress that may make other challenges even more difficult. You have worked for and will continue to work for your sobriety. When you sit down and really think about it, you will probably realize that you do not have space, time, or energy to give to toxic relationships anymore. 

Why We Stay

There are so many different reasons as to why you stay in relationships with people who are not really that healthy for you. For a lot of people, it comes down to comfort. You have always been friends with that group, or you have always lived with that person. It is your comfort zone, your square box that you know by heart. Even though a relationship is harmful, you may be scared to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You have worked hard and gone through very tough days getting sober and working through challenges. Do not risk your sobriety on people who do not bring positivity into your life. Learning to work through the fear of separation is a great life skill. Just like you learned in treatment, taking the time to really think about what you need and want is the key to success. If you really do not want to remove someone fully from your life, take the time to sit down and talk it through. Be clear and concise about what you need from that person and what you want. It will be worth all of the hard work and determination


Who we create bonds with, and surround ourselves with, is a very important part of our daily lives. Our social connection is very important to our mental health and daily sobriety. Learning to understand why someone is not a healthy choice for you is important. Just because you love someone and are comfortable with them does not mean they are someone you should have in your life. Take the time to understand who you feel obligated to, who is toxic, and who is enabling. Have open dialogue as to what is acceptable and what is not.  Sometimes relationships have the ability to change and morph into something new, something that you need. Other times the relationship or the person is not able to change. Here at The Guest House, we are ready to help you continue on your sober path. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more about our programs, the life skills we teach, and how we can help you at any stage of the recovery process.