How Do I End a Friendship or Relationship That’s Holding Me Back?
Entering recovery doesn’t just mean you stop using drugs or alcohol. It represents an entire shift in priorities and lifestyle. Sometimes, to our loved ones around us, it’s as if we’re a different person when in recovery versus when in active addiction. For some this is obviously a good thing—they’ve got the “old you” back, the real you. For others though, especially ones that you used with and who facilitated your addiction, this change can be less positive.
Remember, recovery is a time for focusing on your own needs and how you can grow as a person. When you find that you no longer have much in common with someone, or that they jeopardize your recovery and well-being, it’s okay to decide you need to move on to be able to continue growing.
You obviously want to do this in a healthy way, though. Here are some tips on how to accomplish that.
Don’t Just Ignore Them
One of the worst things you can do is to think you can just keep ignoring them until they get the message. You may think this avoidance is a less hurtful way to break things off, but it really arises out of your lack of courage to have an honest conversation with them. Doing it this way will only drag out the process and lead to more hurt feelings.
If you aren’t laying out your decision clearly, it may be that you’re avoiding committing to your decision. However, once you’ve realized that you need to end the relationship, you owe it not just to them but to yourself to act on this realization with honesty. Speak with them directly.
Set Clear Boundaries and Stick to Them
Once you’ve decided to speak with someone directly and deliver your decision to end your relationship, it’s important to keep upholding that honesty and openness throughout the conversation. If you don’t come into the conversation with your reasoning and intentions clear in your mind, and set clear boundaries and enforce them, you’re liable to falter and give in to their attempts to change your mind.
Essentially, you’re ending this relationship for one of two reasons. The first possibility is that your recovery has left you without much in common and you’ve grown distant. The second is that you’re too close to one another and you’ve let them in too much. In this second scenario, you may have difficulty saying no to this person, give in too easily, trust them too much, etc. Resist these temptations by figuring out ahead of time which type of relationship this is, what boundaries you need to set, and how you’ll enforce them.
You Don’t Have to Be Hostile
Ending a friendship or other sort of relationship seems like a hurtful thing to do, the more so the more intimate your history with that person. However, you don’t necessarily have to be hostile, mean, or cold when having this conversation.
As we’ve said, it all comes down to honestly. If you figure out your feelings and intentions ahead of time and guide the conversation with honestly and clearly-set boundaries, you can have this talk with your friend in a more tame and polite way while still being candid and straightforward.
Try to explain to them that you aren’t holding something against them or trying to hurt them, and you don’t think you’re better than them. You just need to end the relationship to protect your recovery and preserve your health and well-being.
Of course, no matter how much you read about it, this can still be an intimidating and difficult conversation to work up the courage to initiate. If you’re still unsure how you can proceed and want more guidance on this or other addiction recovery issues, come to The Other Side in Crystal Lake, IL. Our community is full of people who are themselves learning to successfully navigate recovery, so you’ll always find a room full of people with plenty of advice for your own journey.