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Cutting Negative Influences from Your Life

picture of Joe Gilmore
Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 16, 2023

Table of Contents

Everyone wants to live a more positive life, but without cutting negative influences, you’re just holding yourself back.  They might come from the outside or from within you. Wherever they come from, there are hundreds of things that put dents in your motivation, self-confidence, and happiness. It could be a friend or family member who seems only to criticize you, or it could be a nasty habit that you can’t shake.

Some negative people are unavoidable. Maybe you have colleagues you can’t get along with, your best friend’s annoying partner, or a critical family member you have to see during the holidays. When you can’t remove someone from your life, or decide not to, you can learn how to deal with them more positively. If you don’t, you could end up letting their opinions affect your life. There are lots of ways you can deal with the type of person who only seems to have bad things to say.

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One of them is simply to smile and detach yourself, ignoring what they tell you. But you can’t use this method in some places, such as at work. When you need to stay engaged, try to get them to balance out their thoughts with positive statements. Treatment programs like those offered at Renaissance Recovery can help you overcome these issues and can even help with drug and alcohol addiction problems as well.

Examples of Negative Influences in Your Life

When it comes to a drug or alcohol addiction, negative influences can make your situation worse and can even cause some people to turn to substances even more. Taking inventory of these things can help you learn what you need to cut out of your life. Let’s look at a couple.


You’ll hear this a million times if you ever go through any addiction treatment program that leans on the 12-Step program – people, places, and things matter in your recovery. Cutting negative influences includes cutting some people from your life. The people we choose to spend our time with, as well as the ones we have no choice but to see, can have a tremendous impact on us. You can begin to internalize other people’s voices, as you start to believe the horrible things they say.

You can probably think of at least one person in your life who always leaves you wishing that you hadn’t met up with them. Sometimes the best thing to do about them is to remove them from your life. But you aren’t always able to do that. Some people in your family or at work are unavoidable. So, as well as ending negative relationships, you should also learn to deal with them and balance them out with more positive ones. The fact is that in recovery, there’s almost no way you can be around the people that in any way enabled or supported your addiction. That’s a difficult realization because in many cases, these people might be long-time friends or family.

The only way that these people can continue to be a part of your life is after family/group therapy or after you’ve been sober for many years. This tends to work itself out because 95% of people who have success in recovery already come to this conclusion on their own. Addiction recovery is a cleansing process. It includes washing away bad memories, healing our souls, finding new ways to calm ourselves, and most of all, learning how to avoid negativity. After a while, it becomes second nature and when we look around, we see that our interests and friends are different. This is natural.


Unfortunately, even locations can have a strong impact on your functioning. For example, for some people college can be an incredibly toxic environment filled with people and thoughts that may be not only contributing to your substance abuse but maybe even actively causing it.

If this is a problem that you are dealing with, it is important to take note of this issue make the changes that you need to make in order to come out of the situation stronger and healthier.

If you recognize that you are in a toxic environment that is only making your situation worse, it is time to take action.

Combating Negative Thinking

Cutting negative influences also includes changing the way you think about things, especially situations that are unexpected or stressful. You can only change your lifestyle if you think in a more positive way and deal with negative thoughts properly. Avoiding negative people helps with this, but you also need to look deeper inside yourself. One of the best things to do to improve your life is to set goals and aims, so you have something to try for. But you need to look at your thought patterns to help you stay on track. When you’re thinking negatively, you should see where your thoughts and feelings are coming from to help you get to the root of the problem.

So Goodbye to Bad Influencers – Your Life Depends on it

If you decide that you’re better off without someone, make sure that you’re certain this is the right step. This drastic move is difficult to come back from, and you might not be able to fix your relationship. Cutting someone from your life is easier to do if it’s a friend. You don’t have to see them, like you do your family, or to socialize with others who know them. It’s completely up to you whether you keep a friend around. Of course, you also get to choose if you want a family member in your life. Just be sure that you’re taking the right step to cut out someone who is uncaring, abusive, or neglectful. In group therapy, we hear stories every day about people keeping toxic family members or friends in their lives for way too long. After a few years, you become scarred from the abuse and toxicity. It can be something you carry around with you for life if you don’t eliminate it.

Deal with Negative Influences at Renaissance Recovery

If you or a loved one is dealing with a substance abuse problem fueled by the negative influences around you, it can be time to make serious changes in order to get the help you need. This is where Renaissance Recovery’s Orange County rehab can help. If you need help conquering addiction and cutting out the negative problems in your life, please give our admissions team a call today to learn how we can help your specific situation.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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