Why It Is So Important to Limit Negative Influences during Addiction Recovery

Woman feels negative influence

There is a big difference between just not using drugs or alcohol and living a life of recovery. In order for sobriety to become a sustainable lifestyle, it is important to develop new habits and recognize old behaviors that lead to substance abuse in the first place. When a person does not make a conscious effort to change their old patterns it becomes much more difficult to maintain a life of sobriety.

One of the best things that a person can do to remain proactive about their recovery is to limit the number of negative influences in their lives. While there are several different areas these influences can be found, here are a few of the more common ones and ways to deal with them.


Most of the time once a person has reached the point of addiction they are usually only hanging out with other people that use. While you may have had a lot of good times with these people during your using days, it is never a good idea to associate with people that are still using when you are trying to get sober. No matter how close a friend or family member is, if they are using, you have two choices: Get them to address their issues with a rehabilitation program, or no longer associate with them. Associating with individuals who are still using drugs or alcohol while you are in recovery is a certain way to put your recovery in danger.

Music, Movies, Television, and Books

Drugs and alcohol are overly glorified in every aspect of the entertainment industry. While there may be certain music you could relate to during your using days, it may be a good idea to consider expanding your interests once you get sober. Being constantly reminded of drinking or using through music or movies when you are trying to stay sober only makes the struggle more difficult.

Negative relationships

Family Members

There may be certain family members you have that still use or are destructive in some other sort of way. While it is not always easy to limit the amount of time you spend with certain family members, it is important to let them know that your recovery will always come first. If they are unwilling to not drink or use around you and respect your boundaries, then you really need to make a decision about what is best for you and your recovery. Limit the amount of interaction that you have with them as much as possible. If the person is somehow abusive towards you, your safety needs to be your first priority when it comes to that particular relationship.

Thinking Patterns

If you are constantly talking down to yourself, dwelling on past mistakes or beating yourself up, you are sabotaging your chances for success. It is very important to learn how to recognize and deal with negative thinking behaviors before they destroy the progress you have made. Like anything else, thinking patterns are developed through repetition and habit. It will take some work and effort to break old habits and form new ones but the reward will be well worth it.

“Getting sober is not just about quitting, it’s about establishing a new and improved lifestyle.”


If you are recovering from alcoholism it is not a good idea to go to a bar for any reason. If you are recovering from other forms of drug addiction it is best to stay away from the places you used to pick up drugs from. While you cannot eliminate every trigger from your life, you can certainly be proactive enough to limit them as much as possible.

Sober man on a balcony.

Habits and Routines

A life of addiction will create unhealthy habits and routines. During recovery, it is important to remain productive, establish a good personal schedule, exercise, eat a well-balanced diet and participate in positive activities that do not revolve around drugs and alcohol. Getting sober is not just about quitting, it’s about establishing a new and improved lifestyle.

The bottom line is that although a worthwhile venture, obtaining a life of recovery can be a difficult process. This is why it is so important to give yourself the best chances of success that you can and limit the number of negative influences in your life.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.