People Pleasing and Sobriety? Not a Good Mix

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Everyone likes a nice person. However, if you’re too focused on pleasing other people, then it can be a problem.

People pleasing can be a liability especially if you are in recovery. This attitude can hold you back from ever being sober and progressing in recovery, and you may less likely find the happiness that you deserve. So if you want to stay and progress in the road to recovery, you should concentrate on your priorities, instead of focusing on getting other people’s approval.


What is People Pleasing

People pleasing is a pattern of behavior when your actions and speech are dictated more by other people’s opinion of you and the fear of being disliked rather than your own individuality

A people pleaser is someone who does certain things a certain way because they don’t want to upset people or simply want to make other people happy.  You change who you are so you will be liked by all to the point that you are not being true to who you really are.

You are a people pleaser if you engage in the following behaviors:

  • You don’t want to speak your mind because you’re afraid to start conflict
  • You want to change to become the person your family or loved one wants you to be
  • You do things just to make other people happy
  • You go along with other people’s decisions even if you have a better idea in your mind
  • You’re worried that people will like you less if you disagree with them
  • You hide your emotions or keep your thoughts to yourself because you don’t want other people to dislike you
  • You hope that someone will come along to inspire you and fix your life

People pleasing is a danger in recovery

It may be nice to be liked by all, but you don’t have to change yourself or lie to yourself. Doing this makes your recovery short-sighted and shallow. You should change for your sake, and people pleasing can only lead you to feel like an outsider. In other words, people pleasing in recovery can do more harm than good.


In recovery, people pleasing can lead to problems, such as:

  • living below your potential
  • neglecting your needs over other people
  • less focus on your own aspirations and goals
  • stressing yourself to please people all the time
  • being depressed due to putting in a lot of effort to please others while still being unhappy
  • not being truthful can lead people to distrust you
  • having passive aggressive behavior
  • people can take advantage of you

In recovery, people pleasing behavior must be avoided. You must learn to rely on yourself, be true to yourself, and not rely on other people to be better. You have to keep in mind that you are the only person that you need in order to succeed in your road to sobriety, while the need to please others (such as your druggie friends) can give you an excuse to relapse. Being concerned with what other people think of you in your recovery can even take out the joy of changing your life for the better and living sober.

Avoiding people pleasing in recovery

Below are a few tips on how you can avoid people-pleasing behavior in recovery:

  • Say “No” to things that can threaten your recovery
  • Build your self-esteem by accepting and loving yourself (self-compassion)
  • You can share your opinions and critiques constructively
  • Establish boundaries in your relationships and interactions
  • Don’t be afraid to stand out or be different
  • Learn to express your needs positively and to stand by them
  • You can listen to other people’s opinions, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them
  • Be prepared to express your opinion when something makes you uncomfortable or unhappy
  • Understand that a friend who doesn’t like you for who you are is not your friend, especially if they are not happy about your recovery
  • If what you want in life is not the same as your friends’, know that it is fine
  • It’s okay to agree to disagree
  • If you disagree with other people’s opinions, work on a compromise instead of conceding all the time

Life in recovery can be an uphill battle–but on the upside, you know that you are making yourself and your life better.

If you are struggling with addiction and want to change, however, you can give us a call to find out the treatment option that best suits you.

Text 0917-509-8826 or Call 622-0193

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