Call our Free 24/7 Helpline Now

5 Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Recovery

5 Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Recovery

Sometimes the recovery community has people who are less than friendly, and sometimes ‘normal’ people find it hard to be civil, and situations become stressful. As individuals in recovery we need to be mindful of the fact that not everyone is living the program we are living, and not everyone practices the principles we practice. The atmosphere in the recovery community may even put a little more stress on people who struggle with trying to make connections with sober people, or with learning how to maintain relationships. Difficult personal situations like this can create difficult people, so we have at least 5 ways to deal with difficult people in recovery.

Avoid being selfish…

Selfishness and self-centeredness are often described as the roots to our problems as alcoholics or addicts in recovery. One of the biggest hurdles placed ahead of us is to overcome our self-seeking and inconsiderate ways, so when presented with a problem with a difficult individual, it is important we be mindful that in recovery in order for us to be of any service of to contribute in any healthy way, we have to avoid being selfish with our feelings or actions when dealing with difficult people. Also make sure you have been accountable for your own part in the dispute, and see what you are bringing to the table for a solution.

Be sympathetic to circumstances…

It is important to remember that whether someone else is sober or not, we need to be sympathetic of their circumstances. If they are in recovery as well, it is important to try and identify with that and alleviate some of the tension by making that connection and trying to show you understand. Try to share with them some of your own experience, and sympathize with them. The more a difficult person relates to you, and knows your struggles, the more likely they are to ease off of their abrasive behavior. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Stop setting expectations…

It is important that you at least practice acceptance in recovery, and setting expectations are another way we can set ourselves up for failure to communicate with difficult people. There is no growth or positive outcome from judging others or condemning their actions based off of our expectations. In recovery we learn that in reality our expectations also derive from out attempts to control everything, and this is actually closely related to being selfish.

Be straight forward with problem…

On an occasion where a difficult person is continuing to put a strain on your serenity and causing you problems, it can be safer to come forward with the problem and be assertive with how the situation is affecting you, as opposed to gaining resentment and letting the problem fester and grow in silence. Honesty is so very important in recovery, and whether the other person is in recovery or not it may be necessary to let them know that the situation is bothering you, and you need to address it before it has any kind of impact on your sobriety.

Seek out a spiritual solution…

After everything is said and done, whether the individual has been able to come around and change their behavior, seeking some kind of spiritual solution can be one of the most powerful ways to overcome a difficult situation with someone. Often times in my experience meditation and prayer have been a huge part of conflict resolution. By praying for the person, it is easier for me to accept them and the situation, and to set my own boundaries of emotional involvement without setting expectations. Looking at situations from a spiritual point of view and not a worldly point of view is not always easy, but it definitely helps.

In recovery there will be tough times, and difficult people either clean and sober or ‘normal’ and you cannot live in fear or resentment of these situations. Recovery gives us the tools and the support systems we need to face life without drinking or using drugs, because the hard times are not worth the suffering and pain of active addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.