9 Signs Your Loved One is Sabotaging Their Own Recovery

Featured - Recovery - Support
Published: 03/30/2022 | Author:

Finding and sustaining recovery is hard. That’s why it’s crucial to have a solid recovery plan that keeps you on track and helps you navigate life’s challenges. Sometimes, however, we’re not the best judge when something is sabotaging our recovery.

Or, perhaps you’re a family member or partner concerned that your loved one might be taking risks that could be sabotaging their recovery.

Toll-free
800-483-2193
Call Now

Who Answers?

Help is Available

What is Self-Sabotaging?

Self-sabotage is another way of saying self-destruction. Much like addiction, it is a cycle of self-harm. Prior to your recovery, that’s using drugs despite the negative consequences you encounter.

Conversely, in recovery, self-sabotaging is either taking risks with your recovery or stopping doing the very things that helped you find recovery in the first place.

Bottom line: Self-sabotage in recovery is compromising your recovery goals through action or inaction.

9 Signs of Self-Sabotage

These are some of the most common ways people are sabotaging their own recovery:

Feeling Stress

Chronic stress is a red flag for people in recovery. We’re not talking about one stressful encounter at work, but rather repeated episodes of stress. Stress is bad news because many people in recovery are still learning positive coping strategies that don’t involve alcohol or drugs.

It takes time to practice these new coping skills. Stress is a surefire way of knocking yourself off-track. If you’re off-track, you’re more likely to reach for those old coping strategies.

Keep in mind that stress can be the gateway to self-destruction. Be sure to keep it in check.

Stress is a surefire way of knocking yourself off-track. If you’re off-track, you’re more likely to reach for those old coping strategies.

Experiencing Resentfulness

AA would say that resentments are toxic to recovery. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states: “Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.”

Whether you subscribe to AA for your recovery or not, this statement is accurate. Resentment is a very negative feeling that sabotages recovery.

Negative Thinking or Thought Distortions

Similar to resentment, negative thinking can cause someone to begin sabotaging their own recovery. You could add a negative mental narrative to a conversation. It can also be as simple as having an interaction that causes despair or low self-esteem.

Negative thinking can also bring up other unhelpful feelings like jealousy and self-hatred.

All of these negative feelings can result in reaching for substances to ease the pain.

All of these negative feelings can result in reaching for substances to ease the pain.

Socially Isolating

Staying away from recovery friends or meetings can feel like it’s not a big deal . Unfortunately, before you know it, you’ve missed a month of meetings and ton of social gatherings with recovery friends.

Like using substances to ease pain or stress, isolating yourself leads to avoiding your recovery. As a rule of thumb, try not to miss more than one meeting (unless you’re sick of course).

Stopping Recovery Activities

Not attending meetings or their service position, not calling their sponsor, and canceling therapy appointments are all signs of someone sabotaging their own recovery.

These are the activities that keep you sober. By stopping these activities, you lose focus on what’s important.

These are the activities that keep you sober. By stopping these activities, you lose focus on what’s important.


It’s helpful to remember that, even though life can get in the way of recovery, you wouldn’t have such an abundant and busy life without recovery.

Bottling up Emotions

Like not showing up for recovery activities, bottling up emotions is a way of sabotaging your own recovery. In this case, you’re not giving yourself an opportunity to process stress and emotion. Therapy, group meetings, journaling, and more are all critical outlets for our emotions.

Not allowing your emotions to flow can lead to feelings of resentment and even relapse.

Relapsing

It goes without saying that returning to substance use is a sign of someone sabotaging their own recovery. But it doesn’t have to be! One drink or one use can be just that if you return to recovery immediately after.

Addiction is a relapsing condition. It’s important to not dwell on your relapse and return to what’s important: your recovery.

Feeling guilt and shame about using will only keep you stuck in using substances in order to deal with those emotions.

Addiction is a relapsing condition. It’s important to not dwell on your relapse and return to what’s important: your recovery.

The next right step is going to a meeting, calling your sponsor, getting an emergency appointment with your therapist or treatment facility. Relapse is not the end of the road.

Refusing Help

If a loved one comes to you voicing their concern about your recovery, they likely have something useful to say. It’s worth noting that we’re not always the best judge of ourselves. Sometimes, it takes someone else to spot that we’re not ourselves for us to recognize that we might be off-track.

The best thing to do is listen and reach out to your recovery mentor or therapist to check in with them and develop a plan.

Developing Unhealthy Relationships

Maybe you’ve been hanging around with the “fun” people in recovery, but instead of working on yourself, you’re out playing around. While fun is definitely a part of recovery, you may have been using socializing to avoid the real work of recovery.

We’re not saying don’t have fun! Rather, it’s important to keep a balance between having fun and doing the things necessary to maintain your recovery.

Toll-free
800-483-2193
Call Now

Who Answers?

Help is Available

A Note for Loved Ones:

If you’re reading this with concern about your loved one’s recovery, then you’re in the right place. Here are a few tips to approach the topic with your loved one in a helpful way:

  • Approach them calmly and supportively: If you say, “We need to talk about what you’ve done,” or something like that, then they may feel apprehensive about opening up. Perhaps asking, “Could we grab a coffee and chat?” is a more effective way to get them to open up.
  • Don’t judge: If your loved one tells you they’ve relapsed or that they agree they have been sabotaging their own recovery, the last thing they need is to be told that they’ve made a mistake or that they’re a disappointment. Instead, ask how you can help them to get back on track.
  • Listen: People in recovery have lots of people telling them what they think is the best thing for their recovery. Sometimes folks just need someone to listen to their challenges and be there for them.

If you’re unsure whether they want support or suggestions, just ask them, “How would you like me to respond? With reassurance, or would you like some suggestions that we can use to problem-solve together?”

For information about treatment options for you or a loved one, call 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) today.

 

Images Courtesy of Canva.

 

TALK TO A DETOX SPECIALIST TODAYTALK TO A DETOX SPECIALIST TODAY800-483-2193Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?