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As we're continuing our work in recovery, one thing that can trip us up and sabotage our sobriety is the toxicity we encounter in our relationships. When we're in unhealthy relationships, particularly with other addicts, we tend to have unhealthy dynamics between us that feed our addictive patterns and worsen our emotional health challenges. We feel increasingly stressed out, confused, sad and overwhelmed. We feel alone and isolated, even when in a partnership, because the relationship itself can a huge source of emotional pain for us. One helpful way of eliminating negativity from our lives is learning how to distance ourselves from toxicity.

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships

Is there a relationship in your life that you feel is always bringing you down, that is triggering or stressful for you? Do you feel like you always have some kind of relationship issue or conflict, and no matter what you do, you can't come to a place of resolution and peace? Do you constantly feel afraid that you're going to be abandoned or betrayed? Many of us will work tirelessly to save these relationships. We're afraid to be alone. We feel a sense of obligation to them. We feel codependent and unable to function on our own. We don't want to let our loved ones down. Recovering from our addictions also means learning independence and self-love. We want to get to a point where we can separate ourselves from unhealthy relationships and prioritize our well-being.

Understanding the Grieving Process

When we distance ourselves from the toxicity in our lives, we might undergo a grieving process where we're mourning the loss of a person or relationship that has been important to us. We might feel a heavy sense of sadness and grief in having to let them go. Conversely, we might feel relieved to finally be detaching from something that was so unhealthy for us. Many of us are caught up in toxic attachments that are rooted not in genuine care but in neediness and dependence. Freeing ourselves from these attachments allows us to focus on our sobriety without being weighed down and burdened by negativity. When we had a deep connection with someone, the loss can be palpable, but we might also feel lighter and less encumbered when we finally mange to let it go.

Focusing on Our Recovery

Getting some distance from the toxic, negative, unhealthy relationships in our lives means we're freeing up our energy to focus on ourselves and our healing. Toxic relationship dynamics are incredibly distracting, and they take us away from the work we want to be doing on ourselves. It's very hard to focus on our sobriety when we're always entangled in relationship issues and tumultuous relationship dynamics. We can give ourselves our full attention when we finally get the separation and solitude we need. We often put our sobriety on the back burner when focusing on our relationship issues because they were so overwhelming and all-consuming. Once we're separated from toxicity, we free ourselves up to prioritize our recovery.

Healing From Our Addictive Patterns

Removing toxicity from our lives is an act of self-care. It liberates us from the same clutches of dependence and compulsiveness that feed our addictions. When we feel strong enough to distance ourselves from toxic relationships, we're also developing the strength and willpower to separate ourselves from our drugs of choice. Very often our unhealthy relationships and addictive patterns went hand in hand. They fed off of each other, fueled each other, and exacerbated one another. Detaching from toxicity often helps us to develop the emotional resilience, independence and fortitude we need to free ourselves from our addictions.

Facing Our Fears

Sometimes what most stands in our way of freeing ourselves from unhealthy relationships is our fear of being alone. We assume we won't be able to find love again, or we think we won't be able to take care of ourselves. We feel inadequate when we're alone. We equate loneliness with unworthiness. We're afraid of being judged, and we judge ourselves for not being able to maintain a healthy relationship. Let's confront these fears and remind ourselves that in order to have healthy relationships with others, we must first have a healthy relationship with ourselves. We must learn how to love and accept ourselves unconditionally for who we are, not for the pretenses and illusions we try to fulfill when in toxic relationships. We want to move past the limiting beliefs that tell us we're not good enough on our own. We want to embrace ourselves fully, just as we are.

Forging Healthier Connections

When we've had time for ourselves and are no longer caught up in unhealthy dynamics, we also can heal ourselves enough to form new, healthier relationships that support our sobriety rather than threaten it. We can form healthier connections that uplift us rather than bring us down. These relationships mirror back to us our worthiness, and they help us to feel more confident in ourselves. We become more self-assured. We grow in our self-worth as we surround ourselves with people who value us and separate ourselves from those who don't. The more we believe in our own worthiness, the more we attract people who respect and cherish us.

At WinGate Wilderness Therapy, we believe in the importance of helping you learn more about yourself as an individual, and we work with you to design a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.

Reach out for support today.

(800) 560-1599

P.O. Box 347
Kanab, UT 84741

About the Author:
Shayne Gallagher
Shayne Gallagher

Founder/Executive Director

For more than 30 years, Shayne Gallagher has provided...

For more than 30 years, Shayne Gallagher has provided healing wilderness experiences for adolescents, young adults, and families. With...