Toxic People and Places: Safeguarding Your Recovery

Relieving your body of toxic substances related to addiction is a top priority when beginning recovery. An important step many people overlook has to do with toxicity in other arenas. Once a person returns home from treatment, it benefits them to be on the lookout for toxic people and places. 


Learn How to Spot Toxic People in Your Life 

Coming back home after treatment means seeing people you missed while you were away. The idea of getting reacquainted likely feels good. Now that you have started a new life, reconsider the company you keep. 

Start by thinking about the people with whom you spend time. Include family members, friends, coworkers, fellow students and neighbors. Ask yourself some questions about your relationships with them, such as:  

  • Do they know that I am in recovery now?
  • Do they share my goal of staying sober?
  • Are they currently using or abusing drugs or alcohol?
  • Are they someone I can turn to for advice and support?
  • Will they encourage me to stay healthy and make good choices?

Spending time with people who prove to have a positive influence on your life makes a difference. Take note of how you feel after you have been around each person in your life. Aim for sharing your time with those who uplift you. 


Avoid a Toxic Dating Life

For those who are single, many treatment professionals recommend their patients avoid getting involved in a romantic relationship too early in recovery. When you do feel ready to step back into the dating world, keep an eye out for toxic people in this realm. 

You may feel a natural inclination to gravitate toward someone who has experience with their own addiction. Make sure that they are strongly in recovery. A person who has a shaky recovery may put their own addiction at the forefront. This can cause them to encourage you to drink, use drugs or engage in other toxic behaviors.

You may begin dating someone who has never dealt with a substance abuse disorder. Remember to go at your own pace when discussing the details of your past. Let them know upfront that your recovery is your primary goal. Be specific about ways their words and actions can be compatible with this. Spell out things like if they encourage you to do things like having “just one drink” or skip a support group meeting, they are injecting a toxic influence into your life. 

You may already be in a romantic relationship with someone, including living with someone or being married. Your ability to identify toxic attitudes and behavior with a long-time companion or spouse will be beneficial. If you feel your partner may not fully understand how to help you, consider couples counseling. 


Be Aware of Potentially Toxic Places 

One of the joys of returning home from treatment involves visiting familiar places. Before agreeing to head out somewhere, consider if the place might be potentially toxic for you. If you associate a favorite bar or restaurant with having several drinks, it may be best to skip that for now. Look for other restaurants or coffee bars to build new memories in. 

Other places that you might associate with drinking can include sporting events and live performances, such as concerts. Determine if you are ready to add these activities back to your life. If the draw to indulge in alcoholic drinks or use drugs may be too strong for now, find alternative activities.


Carefully Choose Which Social Invitations to Accept

Most people have great memories of hanging out with loved ones at their homes. Think about if attending a family member’s annual July 4th backyard barbecue or a friend’s birthday party is worth it. If you often spent time at these events in the past using drugs or drinking, the memories may be too much for now. People at these get-togethers may be drinking or using drugs, which can derail your recovery. 

Be honest with people you believe are likely to understand your situation. Let them know you may not be able to visit with them in their homes for now. Some of them may not support you in making this choice. If they don’t, ask yourself if they belong on your list of toxic people to avoid.


Toxic People and Places Can Affect Mental Health

When you reduce the number of toxic people and places in your life, you don’t just affect your recovery. This change may also have a positive impact on your mental health. Engaging in a toxic relationships can be emotionally exhausting and takes a serious toll on your mental well-being. 

When you learn to set up your post-treatment life with a focus on avoiding toxic people and places, you are also working on your mental health. You may feel fewer signs of depression, anxiety and negative thinking. This change can be cyclical because better mental health often helps someone be more inclined to make healthy choices about their recovery.


Toxic environments can cause damage to your mental and your physical health, as well as get in the way of lasting recovery. While you are in treatment, you can discuss with your therapist how to cope with outside influences. If you aren’t ready to go back to your old environment because it is toxic, consider entering sober living. Cliffside Malibu caters to your unique needs. Located in beautiful Malibu, our private and luxurious centers offer you the finest evidence-based addiction recovery care. Let us provide the respect you deserve. Call (855) 403-5641.