ILBS 73 | Avoid A Relapse


For people in their first year on the road to recovery, the need to avoid a relapse is critical. Like it or not, your friends play a big role in your recovery. In this episode, Tim Westbrook dives deep into why toxic friends are not good for your health. He takes a look at relationships, their impact on your recovery, and why you need to cut those toxic friends out. Tune in for more great insights on sobriety and recovery and live your best life.

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How To Avoid A Relapse: Secret #2 Get Rid Of Toxic Friends

Welcome to another episode sponsored by Camelback Recovery, Arizona’s preferred sober living option to help AA newcomers stay sober during their first year in the program. If that is you or someone you know, then you are in the right place because I am the CEO and Founder of Camelback Recovery here in the always sunny and sober Scottsdale, Arizona, where my team and I, over many years have helped thousands of people to stop their suffering and continue on their path to recovery.

Let’s get clear on one thing. We believe that a relapse or a slip is not a part of recovery. That is exactly why this show is dedicated to you or any loved one you know in their first year of striving to live a clean and sober life. The purpose of this show is to come clean with all of the misinformation that is out there about recovery, addiction treatment, mental illness and the strategies to stay sober in general. If you believe you are in the right place or if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it is my privilege to share this show with you.

I have no idea if you and I have ever met but what I do know is that AA saved my life. I also know that defining long-term recovery and living happy, joyous and free is not just about stopping your drinking, drugging, gambling, sexual indiscretions or any other addiction you may have struggled with or suffered from. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that sobriety can and should be fun.

Any recovery process is not easy. It is challenging. It can sometimes be annoying and for most of us, it is often difficult to stay on the path but here is the good news. The self-awareness you gain from reading this show, especially if you are in the first year of your recovery, will help you make better choices, which will ultimately lead you to live a kick-ass sober life. Visit to learn more about our treatment strategies for alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness. We even offer recovery coaching so you can enjoy the freedom and happiness you have always searched for.

Welcome to the 73rd episode. When you are done reading this episode, you will be glad you did and that is my pledge to you for reading it in its entirety. Although your first year in sobriety is central to our discussions, you and I will also explore other fascinating and important topics such as health and fitness, self-care, food and nutrition, breathwork and biohacking, to name a few.

[bctt tweet=”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Whether you like it or not, you are greatly influenced by the people that are closest to you.” via=”no”]

All of these are your gateway to living a kick-ass sober life which is our mantra at Camelback Recovery. In this episode, you will learn the second secret, which is critical to avoiding a relapse. You will discover that getting rid of your toxic friends is crucial if you want to avoid a slip, along with why it is so important. I will share my experience with getting rid of my toxic friends.

Based on that information, you can figure out exactly how it is going to work for you. Lean in and read carefully because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can make it to a year and much closer to live in a kick-ass sober life. Also, this show is like an AA meeting. Everyone here is either clean and sober, struggling, thinking about getting clean and sober or whatever it may be.

If you learn anything that resonates with you throughout this episode, please let us know in the comments section of YouTube, Apple or Spotify. What you share might resonate with someone else and possibly save them from a relapse or even save their life. Every review and comment gets us that much closer to helping 1 more person or 1 more family. Do not be shy and be sure to share what resonates with you.

You must get rid of your toxic friends if you want a shot at making it to a year. You must create distance from them. Your old friends promoted your old way of living. If your old friends are still drinking, drugging and still in addiction, it is impossible to stay clean and sober if you are hanging out with them. As New York Times bestselling author, Ben Hardy says, “Willpower does not work.” You might not drink or drug the first time you hang out with them but eventually, if you keep on hanging out with them, there is going to be a time when you are weak, not as strong, vulnerable and you are going to slip.”

It might not be tomorrow, next week or the week after but eventually, you are going to slip. As they say, if you spend too much time in the barbershop, eventually you are going to get a haircut. It is the same thing. Even your friends may not necessarily be alcoholics or drug addicts but still engage in toxic behavior that is not conducive to your new way of living your new life. Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether you like it or not, you are greatly influenced by the people that are closest to you.

ILBS 73 | Avoid A Relapse

Avoid A Relapse: Any recovery process is not easy. It’s challenging. It can sometimes be annoying. And for the most of us, it is often difficult to stay on the path.


There are a few signs that I want to point out that indicate a toxic friendship so you are aware of them. Number one, if they are not actively supporting your recovery. For example, they do not support your recovery efforts. They do not like it that you are still going to IOP, still seeing a therapist, going to Twelve-Step meetings and working a Twelve-Step program, hanging out with people that you met in the rooms of AA and they give you shit when you are going to meetings. Number two, the relationship is one-sided. They are a taker, not a giver. Number three, they start trying to control your life or your level of sobriety.

I had a woman that I dated early on in my sobriety. She thought that I spent too much time at meetings and with my friends in recovery. That relationship did not work because that did not work for me. I am a busy person. I do not have a lot of free time but I know that I have to continue working in a program, seeing my therapist and doing my personal development-type activities that help me stay clean and sober. Recovery has to be a priority, especially if you are in your first year. With everything in your whole life, most things should revolve around recovery. That should be the priority and the number one thing.

Number four, they deliberately attempt to keep you away from your family or your new friends that are supporting your new way of life. Your old toxic friends are still on the disease. They are used to you being the old way that you used to be. They do not like the new you. They want you to continue being miserable with them. Misery likes company. That type of person is not conducive to your recovery and they need to be cut off. If you have got some people in your life that you have known forever, known them for a decade or since you were a child, you can reconsider after a year. I would do everything that I possibly could to give yourself the best chance of making it to a year.

Number five, they point out how you have changed since you got clean and sober and they do not like the changes in you. Number six, they continue to point out your faults or take jabs at you. The way I like to think of this is they say, “What people think of me is none of my business.” Not being attached to what other people think, regardless if they are pointing out your faults or taking jabs at you is not somebody you want to spend too much time around. Number seven, they continue to drink and drug around you.

I have been sober for many years. Being around people that drink and even people that do recreational drugs does not trigger or bother me. I do not have the desire to drink or do drugs. However, I do not spend a lot of time around those types of people because that is not my lifestyle or what I want in my life. I prefer to spend my time with people that are living the type of life that I want to live. In my first year, I was even more selective in who I spent my time with. Spending time with people that drank and drugged around me was a slippery slope. It could still be a slippery slope. I just choose not to put myself in that environment.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t feel guilty or remorseful for letting go of your toxic friends. You’re charting a new path for your life, and you must do everything in your power to avoid the slip and remember that they were not contributing to the new you, and you have no further obligation to them.” via=”no”]

Those are not the types of people that I attract and they are not attracted to me either. Surround yourself with people that have the life that you want. These are the people that are engaging in healthy activities like yoga, hiking, meditation, any type of exercise, golf or any other hobby that is not centered on drinking, personal development groups, workshops and Twelve-Step rooms. Your new hobbies and new interests will lead to the people that you want in your life and will attract the right people.

The next thing you might be wondering about is how do you say goodbye to your toxic friends? For me, it was pretty easy. I focused on my new lifestyle, going to meetings and doing the things that I like to do like yoga, CrossFit and triathlons. I am super active so those are the things that I enjoy doing. I was focused on doing those things so my toxic friends did not want to spend time with me or do those things. They like to drink and do drugs. My whole life was surrounded by drinking and drugs. With all of my activities, drinking and drugs were the main activity. That was the main deal.

In my first year, most of my activities revolved around recovery. My toxic friends wanted no part of my new lifestyle, not to mention the fact that most of my friends lived in different parts of the country. I got clean and sober in Arizona. Most of my friends lived in other places so it was not hard for me to cut my toxic friends out of my life. There are a lot of people that go away to rehab and get sober somewhere else in a different city or state. Sometimes people go across the country. Over 50% of our clients at Camelback Recovery moved to Arizona to get clean and sober and start their new life. Moving or going away to rehab is a great way to start over if that is something you are able to do, even if you just go to rehab for 30 days or 45 days.

If you can stay for a few months longer to do IOP and stay in sober living, you are giving yourself a better chance of making it to a year. The longer you can stay away from your old environment and those triggers, the better your chances are of making it to a year. Remember, over 90% of people relapse within their first year. That 90% is brought down to 50% when people stay in a highly structured or high-quality sober living home for at least 90 days. Google Camelback Recovery Nine Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Sober Living Home to learn more about how to find a good high-quality sober living home in your area. Relocating, at least in the short-term, is a great way to cut yourself off from your old life.

This is a good solution in the short-term as long as you are focused on living your new way of life and doing everything you can to avoid the slip. If you still have toxic friends you need to cut out of your life, you will want to be very clear with them. Let them know that you are not willing to put yourself at risk by exposing yourself to dangerous triggers. Remind them and make it clear that you are on a different path, a different person and going in a different direction in your life. Remember, most people relapse within their first year. Most of your friends are not going to take you seriously until you have some time under your belt.

ILBS 73 | Avoid A Relapse

Avoid A Relapse: Your new interests will lead to the people that you want in your life, your new hobbies and your new interests will attract the right people.


Let them know that the only way they will be part of your life is if they decide they want to get clean and sober and want to live a new life as well. Stay away from negotiating with your toxic friends because it is not going to get you anywhere. You are not going to convince them that you are right. They need to figure things out on their own. Do not feel guilty or remorseful for letting go of your toxic friends. You are charting a new path for your life and you must do everything in your power to avoid the slip.

Remember that they were not contributing to the new you and you have no further obligation to them. Your new way of life will attract friends and relationships that are much more meaningful and have much more depth. Not to mention, these new friends and relationships will share your values, your excitement for living a kick-ass sober life and your new sober lifestyle.

Here is a quick review of the insights you and I both rediscovered in the 73rd episode of this show. Getting rid of your toxic friends is crucial if you want to avoid a slip. I went over why it is so important. I shared my experience with getting rid of my toxic friends. Based on all of the information that I shared with you in this episode, you will be able to figure out how it works for you. Remember, these insights will only work for you if you work them. Please make sure you apply what you have learned in this episode because if you do, you will be on your way to living a kick-ass sober life. You will agree that that is exciting to think about.

Speaking of reviews, before we end this episode, I want you to go to the reviews section on YouTube, Apple or Spotify and type in one thing that resonated with you, your one a-ha moment. Every comment counts and what you share could resonate with someone else that is struggling and potentially save their life. You will also be asked to rate this episode. I hope I have earned five stars from you. Go ahead and share the one thing that resonated with you in the review section of iTunes or wherever.

It will take three minutes out of your day but what you share could not only save your life but could also say someone else’s life. That does it for this episode. I hope that our paths cross again next time. Do whatever it takes to join me for episode 74 because we are going to talk about secret number three, Develop A Positive Support Network. I encourage you to invite a friend, loved one or a sponsee to read this show. I cannot wait to connect with you then. It will be an insightful episode. I want you to join us with your loved ones.


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