How Do I Cut Out Old Friends That Encouraged My Addiction?


Recovery from addiction can affect your social life, as you find that some people may have been encouraging your addiction. As you take inventory of your friends, you may decide who to keep in your life and who to cut. Recovery can be challenging when you find that you need to cut people out of your life. You might start to feel lonely or isolated when you separate yourself from friends. Even if you have friends who are influencing you in negative ways, they might have played a significant role at some point in your life. Remember to find new places to reach out for social outlets and fun. Choice House can help you find new activities and connect you to others in recovery. 

Distinguishing the Good Influences From the Bad

Distinguishing between your good influences and bad influences can be tricky. Your friends likely all have some great qualities and characteristics, even if they might be encouraging your addiction. You might need to consider traits among your friends to determine who is a positive, healthy influence and who is not. You can define healthy friendships with some of the following characteristics:

  • Trustworthy
  • Supportive
  • Empathetic
  • Dependable
  • Authentic
  • Non-judgmental
  • Respectful of boundaries

Friendships with healthy traits like these might be something that you want to consider looking for in your life. These traits are necessary for healthy and long-lasting friendships. When taking inventory of your companies in recovery, two qualities of these traits can be especially crucial to highlight: support and respect of boundaries. 

  • Supportive Friendships
      • When you are in recovery and making changes, does your friend support your decisions?
      • Are they helpful to you in your growth?
      • Are they willing to help you with recovery in some way?
  • Respect of Boundaries
    • When you say that a behavior or a place makes you feel uncomfortable, do they respect you or ignore you?
    • Will they respect your decision to decline invitations to places that may trigger you?
    • Are they willing to meet you halfway to find new ways to spend time together that are manageable for you?

Friendships That May Need to be Cut

When you have friendships that are not supportive of your recovery or respectful of your boundaries, you may need to cut these friendships. While in early recovery, you are most vulnerable to your triggers as your habits change and reform. You need time to adjust to your healthy lifestyle, and exposing yourself to triggers can cause a setback. Suppose your friends have characteristics like being authentic, trustworthy, empathetic, dependable, and non-judgmental yet are not supportive of your recovery or respecting boundaries. In that case, you might need to cut them from your life. 

Cutting Friends From Your Life

Cutting friends from your life can be emotionally draining. You may need to take time to grieve friendships that you are cutting out of life. Be kind to yourself and reach out to your supportive friends during this time. You can take two approaches to cut friends out, gradual phasing and direct conversation:

Gradual Phasing may mean you start to spend less and less time with your friend gradually and you rarely initiate conversation or contact. To help with this, you can limit your communication with the person over time. This strategy can be useful when you need some space from the person and struggle with being direct. You and this person might need some time apart for a bit for both of you to change and grow separately. You can also check back in with them and reignite the friendship when you feel more confident in your recovery. This style is indirect and non-confrontational.

Direct Conversation may look like a formal break-up. This style may be necessary if you are unable to phase out of the friendship gradually and need to be direct. Remember to be respectful and open to your friend’s changes – the conversation might ignite change or lead to compromises. This strategy is direct and can be confrontational. However, be understanding and respectful of your friend’s feelings, yet be strong and commit to cutting them out if they show no support or respect for your growth.

When in early recovery, you should consider your friendships and how supportive they are. If you find that friends are encouraging your addiction or not respecting your growth, you may need to spend less time with them or completely cut them from your life. You might feel sad and upset over this, and that is normal. Losing friendships can be stressful and emotional. As you make an inventory of your friendships, continue to nurture the healthy connections in your life. Seek support from like-minded individuals who inspire and support your recovery.


Choice House understands that recovery can sometimes feel like a lonely place. You might need to cut ties with unhealthy friends who are encouraging your addictions. Losing friends during recovery can be upsetting. You might have been friends with some people for a long time and now find that they are not supportive of your growth. Give yourself the time that you need to grieve these losses. Be kind and respectful to yourself as you process these emotions. Reach out for additional support from your healthy friends. When you have friendships built on support and mutual respect, you can continue to nurture these relationships. Remember to have fun without engaging in your addiction. If you continue to struggle and need additional support, Choice House can help you in your recovery. We can help you find meaningful activities to build healthy friendships with other men dealing with similar issues. Call us today at (720) 577-4422.

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