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What to Do When Someone Tries to Sabotage Your Recovery

In a perfect world, you would come out of treatment and join a community of people who want nothing more than to see you sober, successful, and happy. In reality, that rarely happens. For whatever reason, there will be some people who want to see you fail. Sometimes their motives are selfish, such as your old dealer, or friends still in active addiction. Other people might have more sinister or malicious motives. You never know. Still others might accidentally sabotage you by stressing you out. Since you can’t control other people’s behavior, you have to figure out a way to deal with saboteurs.

The first thing is to know who you can count on. Try to spend the most time around people who want you to succeed. These might be friends and family members or they might be people you meet in treatment or at meetings. Being around positive, supportive people reminds you you don’t have to go through recovery alone.

The next step is to avoid people you can’t count on. Clearly, you should avoid your old dealer, as well as friends who resent your getting treatment or thought it unnecessary. This also includes people who are negative, and in particular people who are cynical about your recovery for whatever reason. It may be they hold a grudge against you or see your addiction as a moral failing. It may be they just don’t like you. Whatever the case, you have enough of your own doubts to deal with without spending time with someone who wants to bring you down.

In extreme cases, someone might actively try to sabotage you. It might be a friend slipping something into your drink or “accidentally” leaving something at your house. He might even think he’s doing you a favor, but it can really set you back. Whether or not you think someone is out to get you, it’s best to be vigilant. Don’t leave drinks unattended and don’t accidentally grab someone else’s drink. Finding drugs is always a danger and you should have a plan for that, whether they’re your old drugs or someone else’s.

Another way to actively sabotage someone is to start malicious rumors, such as telling people you relapsed when you didn’t. You’re suddenly getting calls from angry family members and you have no idea what’s going on, but now you’ve got nothing but problems and your anxiety goes through the roof. The best thing you can do is stay calm, assure them it’s not true, and ask where they heard it. Your credibility might not be the best at the moment, but all you can control is your own behavior.

You can’t always avoid saboteurs or cut them out of your life. Sometimes you have to suffer the slings and arrows. One thing you can do in this case is use it for motivation. There are already plenty of good reasons to stay sober; why not add spiting your enemies to the list? Depending on how much you despise your saboteur, it could be your strongest motivator.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.