Should we alcoholics and addicts spend time in the presence of other active alcoholics and addicts? If we are not yet recovered, then no. If we are recovered, then only if we have a good reason.
I have several relatives and friends who are alcoholics and in a rather bitter denial. Sure I had to spend time with them through the process of making amends. But after all these years, many of them still haven’t changed in the slightest. In fact, their drinking and their respective character defects and personality disorders are getting considerably worse. So do I continue to allow them my presence?
Even though they are relatives and friends, the answer, after praying and listening to my gut, is a resounding NO. Why? Because I have made my amends to them but now the relationships are simply toxic. To continue giving to them despite ongoing disrespect would be a way of dishonoring myself and all that I have accomplished since I took Steps and recovered more than 7 years ago.
Once our side of the street has been cleaned up, we cannot continue to let others take from us so thoughtlessly. We are not doormats, and part of our recovery is removing any toxic relationships from our lives. For the good of ourselves, our recovery and our new families, we must remove such people from our lives.
It is okay to let go sometimes. In fact, letting go of people who don’t serve us is the right thing to do. It is the strong thing to do. It is even the loving thing to do, as we no longer enable their destructive, negative, crazy behavior. And on a positive note, letting go feels good.
God, help me to let go of toxic relationships…