Person saying no to friend offering them alcohol.

How to Set Boundaries with Loved Ones Who Have Enabled Your Addiction

For many people who have braved the process of rehab and begun the long road to recovery, creating and fostering a strong sober support network is essential to avoiding unforeseen relapse incidents. 

While your friends and loved ones can be some of the most important social connections you maintain during your recovery, avoiding people who enable your addictive impulses is most often necessary to stay focused, accountable and successful in recovery. 

  • It’s important to note that most people who find themselves functioning as an enabler may actually be trying to help in their own way. 

Are you thinking about who has enabled your addiction? Are you wondering how to set boundaries with those individuals? 

It’s important for you to understand exactly what an enabler is. Then you need to know  how you can set appropriate boundaries with them, or keep your distance throughout the course of recovery, so the progress you make is not undone.

What Is  an Enabler? How Can Enablers Fuel an Addiction? 

By engaging in behaviors they mistakenly believe will help in the long run, an enabler actually works to make your drug use problems and addictions worse. 

That’s because enabling is detrimental to your recovery process — encouraging your addictive impulses or making excuses for the harmful decisions you may be making throughout your addictive behaviors. 

It’s not uncommon for an enabler to deny all the facts right in front of them to hold onto their loved one and protect them in their own toxic way. They support the notion that denial allows everything to stay the same; in  fact, they’re putting their loved one in further danger by ignoring the addictive behaviors that have destroyed their life to this point.1

Setting Boundaries with Enablers 

So, once you’ve made the effort to gain personal progress in your recovery journey, what are the best methods to help you set appropriate boundaries with enablers in your life? 

There  is no perfect answer to this question. However, considering  your specific situation and implementing the following techniques can help you create  proper boundaries and avoid interactions with individuals who negatively impact your recovery efforts.

Now that You’re in Recovery, Here’s How to Set Boundaries in Relationships 

  • Don’t be afraid to say NO 

Finding ways to tell your friends or loved ones no can be difficult, especially when you feel loyal to them for supporting you in the past. However, part of defining your boundaries is recognizing the progress you’ve made in your recovery and the desire to interact with people who hold you accountable to your new standards of behavior.2 As you learn to do this, saying no will become easier, and it will become obvious which people you need to say no to.

  • Remember to protect your physical boundaries 

Physical boundaries are the boundaries you establish to help protect your personal space, privacy and safety. Everyone’s physical boundaries will vary based on personal preferences, traumas and past experiences. But remember that setting physical boundaries is important. Doing so will give you  safe places to go to when people  who previously enabled your addictive behaviors try to become part of  your present life without being invited in.2

  • Avoid toxic relationships at all costs 

A toxic  relationships is  any relationship that causes you emotional or physical harm. As you achieve sobriety, you may start to see where past relationships were toxic that previously seemed supportive. When this happens, you may need to cut all ties with some individuals from your past.3

  • Focus on communicating effectively with loved ones 

When you begin defining your boundaries, you’ll  learn to recognize what you want and need in a relationship – and how to communicate those preferences effectively. You’ll  also learn how to communicate without blaming or shaming people who enabled your addiction in the past, which works to create a healthier social support network around yourself.4

  • Take personal responsibility for your actions 

During the course of rehabilitation, you learn how to take ownership of your behaviors. After rehab, you continue this process by living a life of integrity and character. By learning how to respect and love yourself, you also learn how to accept the consequences of your behaviors and develop a healthy structure and routine that guides the way you live your life.4

What if  You Relapse? 

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you might relapse,  or are interacting with a loved one who isn’t  respecting your boundaries, it’s essential to begin discussing your concerns with your sober supports and clinical treatment provider. 

Attaining a state of sobriety is no small task. Once you’ve achieved it, you have to fight twice as hard to keep unhealthy influences out of your life. The benefit of building a healthy sober support network is that they can provide guidance and advice when enablers come back into your life. 

While their intentions may seem pure, the negative impact enablers can  have on your recovery progress is all too real, and needs to be removed as quickly as possible.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past, always remind yourself of how strong you are and how far you’ve come. 

If you find yourself in a situation where your substance of choice is creeping  back into your life, you need to get back on track as soon as possible – and we’re here for you.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. 

Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help you feel confident and ready to reenter  your sober life.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us.


CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931


Did you know we offer family therapy programs for addiction recovery?

We offer family therapy programs for addiction recovery. These programs can help family members who may be enablers and the person in recovery have clear communication and help set boundaries. Learn more



1Psychology Today. Are We Addicted to Being an Enabler? Accessed July 13, 2021.

2National Center for Biotechnology Information. Lines in the sand: Social representations of substance use boundaries in life narratives. Accessed July 13, 2021.

3Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Boundaries in Addiction Recovery. Accessed July 13, 2021.

4Positive Psychology. How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 10 Examples + PDF Worksheets. Accessed July 13, 2021.  

A group of friends kayaking instead of drinking at the bar on St. Patrick’s Day.

How to Help a Loved One Avoid St. Patrick’s Day Parties

St. Patrick’s Day is a time for celebration. It signifies the harsh winter has passed and spring is right around the corner. It provides people the opportunity to gather with their family and friends to celebrate a rich cultural tradition and longstanding custom.

While everyone is welcomed as Irish on this holiday, the correlation with celebration and drinking alcohol has become synonymous over the years. For many, this opportunity to consume alcohol is just another part of the celebration. But for a recovering alcoholic, the temptation associated with an entire day of drinking alcohol can prove to be too much to handle.

Taking the time to better understand the needs of your loved one on days like St. Patrick’s Day allows you to provide emotional support, as well as, enables you to help them avoid a potential relapse that could impact their entire recovery process.

Is It Possible to Avoid Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day?

Avoiding alcohol is difficult for a recovering addict on a normal day. On a day like St. Patrick’s Day, where kegs, eggs and green beer is available everywhere, avoiding alcohol may seem like an impossible task.

After all, everywhere you turn on a holiday like St. Patty’s, you see people finding every reason under the sun to drink large quantities of pretty much any alcohol they can get their hands on.

But even with all this alcohol-induced celebration and temptation, your loved one can avoid drinking with a proper plan and support from their friends and loved ones.

How to Avoid Alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day

Working with your loved one to construct a plan to avoid drinking on St. Patrick’s Day is key to avoiding people and places that can trigger a relapse. It allows you to control the environment to ensure that your loved one stays away from addictive triggers and empowers them to enjoy the holiday with a sober state of mind.

The following recommendations provide a guide you can implement when planning a holiday centered around helping your loved one avoid alcohol:

  • Bring Your Own Beverages
    If you’re planning to attend private parties, make sure to bring your own beverages. There’s no guarantee that the host will be offering anything other than alcohol, so having your own drink options allows your loved one to safely sip while interacting with other partygoers.
  • Embrace the Other Elements of the Holiday
    While St. Patrick’s Day is known for its alcohol offerings, the food associated with the holiday can be very tasty. That corn beef and cabbage is so much more satisfying when you are sober enough to savor the flavor.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Own Your Sobriety
    No one wants to walk into a get together and announce they are a recovering addict. But hiding it from the world is no way to live, either. Instead, encourage your loved one to discuss their health and happiness if anyone gets pushy about offering them a drink. After all, being clean and sober is something to be proud of, so encourage your loved one to brag about it if anyone asks or tries to pressure them to drink.
  • If You Can’t Find a Good Party, Host Your Own
    Enjoying St. Patrick’s Day can sometimes be easier when you do it from the comfort of your own home. Talk to your loved one and see if they are interested in hosting a get-together that highlights the other amazing elements of the holiday. Keeping the party at your place ensures only supportive people attend and enables your loved one to control the environment throughout the day.

These ideas and options allow your loved one to embrace the holiday without having to deal with constant relapse triggers the entire time. However you decide to approach it, making a plan and sticking to it ensures your loved one has alternative ways to enjoy the day without having to sacrifice precious time with family and friends.

Get Your Loved One Addiction Treatment to Get Sober or Bounce Back After a Relapse

It’s important to remember that even with the best made plan, experiencing an isolated relapse is always a possibility. This is not uncommon at all, but it does need to be addressed in order to avoid a momentary setback becoming a full-blown unraveling.

Being prepared for every outcome allows you to support your loved one both in their success and in their failures. By establishing that level of consistent communication, you can help them identify if their problem is manageable or requires professional intervention.

At the end of the day, being able to help your loved one achieve their best life is the primary goal and, sometimes, that requires clinical guidance to overcome short-lived setbacks.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Always remind your loved one of how strong they are and how far they’ve come. Should your loved one end up in a situation where alcohol has crept back into their life, they need to get back on track as soon as possible – and we’re here for them.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our
non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to re-enter their sober life.

Contact us today to learn more and get your questions answered.

alcoholic relapse after long term sobriety

Drinking Relapse After Long-term Sobriety

You have diligently—and with great fervor—embraced a sober life, notching many years on your recovery journey while dedicating your new life to remaining sober.  You may have logged a thousand A.A. meetings.  You may have achieved the fourth level of the SMART Recovery model.  You may even be a sponsor or mentor to those new in recovery, devoted to serving others in their quest for an abstinent lifestyle.

Whether you have 30 days sober under your belt or 30 years, relapse is an ever-present threat to sobriety. In fact, not to recognize and respect this fact constitutes a dangerous form of denial.  Alcohol addiction is a wily foe, never to be thought of as under control.  No matter how methodically you have managed your long-term recovery, every recovering alcoholic is vulnerable to relapse—especially if complacency has seeped in.

Why Do Recovering Alcoholics Relapse After Long-Term Sobriety?

Considering all the many roads that can lead a person to become an alcoholic, it should not be surprising to learn that an addict that starts drinking after long-term sobriety can be triggered by a myriad of situations and reasons. Among the most common include:

  • Memory fades.  After a certain number of years, the hard edges of the memories associated with active addiction can soften.  Wistful memories of drinking may become romanticized, weakening your resolve and tricking you into drinking again.  
  • You stop participating in sober fellowship.  Whether it is a 12-step program or a non-12-step program, the connections with others also battling the monster of alcoholism helps give you the support and accountability needed to remain sober.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorder.  Some alcoholics suffer from an underlying mental health condition such as depression and anxiety.  Both the alcohol addiction and the mental health condition must be treated if recovery is to be sustained.
  • Inadequate coping strategies.  Life will continue to throw curveballs and challenges, no matter how long one has been sober.  Never having acquired the tools to cope with significant loss, trauma, or life’s difficulties makes you vulnerable to relapse.
  • You buy the lie.  One of the most common causes of alcoholic relapse after long-term sobriety is coming to believe that, since you have been sober so long, you can have a drink now and then.  Alcohol dependency is a lifelong condition that will never morph into an innocent recreational habit.

What to Do When an Alcoholic Relapses

Let there be no doubt about it: a relapse from drinking after long-term sobriety can lead to death.  This is because the body has adjusted to having no alcohol exposure for years, but the alcoholic mind stubbornly retains the memories of active addiction practices.  A relapse after a long period of sobriety can overwhelm the body with lethal toxins and cause alcohol poisoning.  Alcoholics also have very high rates of suicide, with depression accompanying a sense of failure and despair among those who relapse.

Recognizing that sobriety is the only option for living a full and satisfying life, it is imperative that the individual who relapsed return to treatment, therapy, a sober living environment, or fellowship meetings immediately.  It is common for there to be feelings of shame and guilt after a relapse, but that must not inhibit the individual from returning to the necessary recovery activities that will save one’s life.  Seek the support of loved ones and humbly do whatever it takes to reclaim sobriety.

Ranch Creek Recovery Can Help

If you have found yourself in the state of relapse, the compassionate treatment team at Ranch Creek Recovery will “walk the path” of recovery alongside you.  Focused on providing a holistic approach to treating alcoholism, the many therapeutic options available are designed to treat the mind, body and spirit, not just the disease.  Located in the serene hillsides of Temecula, California, Ranch Creek Recovery provides a natural setting in which to overcome addiction and heal.  For more information about our holistic treatment program, please call us today at (877) 997-8931.

Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

How Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment Can Prepare for Life after Recovery

The decision to get clean and sober was not an easy one. In some ways, severing ties with your drug of choice is akin to breaking up with a lover. Even if that lover is not good for you and your relationship is toxic, it is still hard to walk away. Deep-seated past emotional hurts can lay the foundation for coupling up in a dysfunctional romance, as well as finding oneself seriously addicted to a substance that can actually kill you. For this reason, detangling yourself from the grip of a substance addiction is a difficult endeavor that demands a proactive effort if one is to be successful in recovery.

No matter how pumped you are to start life over clean and sober that dreaded “R” word dangles there like low-hanging fruit, Relapse. While it’s true that 50-90% of recovering addicts will likely relapse within a year, that doesn’t have to be your fate. There are numerous actions one can take to anticipate the triggers and emotional baggage that could lead to a relapse, and a relapse prevention group is a great place to start the offensive planning.

What are Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment?

Relapse Prevention Therapy falls under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on not only identifying the possible triggers and situations that could trip up your recovery, but also teach new, healthy responses to them through the group exercises. By creating a relapse prevention plan in the early days of recovery—giving voice to the potential culprits that can undermine sobriety and learning techniques to dodge them—the chances of relapse will be dramatically reduced.

In a relapse prevention group a therapist will help each member identify certain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that you associate with using. Just becoming aware of these triggers that, in the past, were followed by cravings and drug or alcohol use will help the newly recovering individual see them from a sober perspective and make a plan to respond differently to them moving forward.

Making an action plan to implement when the warning signs of impending relapse occur is learned in the relapse prevention group’s warning sign management exercise. Each group member will share their own personal warning signs, and how you plan to manage them. The group assists in helping each other with strategies, and challenge each other with “what if?” types of scenarios to help fellow members create a sound strategy for relapse prevention. All of the techniques taught in the relapse prevention group will help prepare you for life after rehab.

Other Relapse Prevention Tools

Relapses after recovery usually follow a predictable pattern. There is an emotional relapse phase where signs of anxiety and anger along with isolating behavior and skipping meetings can begin the process toward relapse. The mental relapse phase is characterized by fantasizing about using, hanging out with friends who use, lying, and beginning to plan a relapse around people’s schedules. Finally, the physical relapse occurs. It is during the first two phases that an impending relapse can be thwarted.

The acronym BHALT is important to preventing relapse, as it identifies the emotions that may promote relapse. BHALT stands for bored, hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. In relapse prevention group coping techniques are taught to help you pay attention to these emotions and how to cope with them to prevent a relapse.

Other relapse prevention tools are eating a healthy diet, getting quality sleep and establishing regular sleep hours, and getting exercise. In addition, relaxation techniques are taught to help calm the mind and reduce the anxiety associated with the early days of sobriety. Deep breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, journaling, and massage are all excellent relaxation tools.

Ranch Creek Recovery Relapse Prevention Groups in Treatment

Ranch Creek Recovery is a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation program located in the beautiful hills of Temecula, California. Their relapse prevention group is one of the many excellent features offered at this non-12-step recovery facility. With a focus on holistic and experiential healing, the compassionate clinicians at RCR walk the walk with the clients, offering a serene therapeutic approach to addiction recovery. For more information, please call (877) 997-8931 today.

Addiction treatment

Learn More About Relapse Prevention And Dual Diagnoses

Ranch Creek Recovery offers more than specialized addiction treatment; we offer a second chance at a normal life. Contact us at (951) 795-4326 to learn how we’ve changed the lives of others. You can also learn more about the importance of effective addiction treatment by browsing these addiction-related resources:

  • This article from The Huffington Post describes how self-medication can lead to substance abuse.
  • Explore the truth behind dual diagnosis by visiting this page from Mental Health America.
  • Visit if you’d like to learn more about addiction triggers.
  • How can you avoid relapse during your addiction recovery? This page from has the answer.
  • This page from MedlinePlus has reliable information about dual diagnosis disorders.