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The Danger of Complacency in Addiction Recovery

The Danger of Complacency in Addiction Recovery

Early in recovery, your biggest advantage is that you still remember the bad times. You may be miserable, not sleeping, craving your drug of choice, but your reasons for going through all of it as still fresh in your mind. As time goes on, that motivation starts to fade. You start feeling better, your cravings get weaker, and your life starts improving. At some point, you might start thinking, ‘Hey, this hasn’t been so bad; maybe I was never an addict after all’. That is a dangerous sign that you are getting complacent.

It’s hard to keep up the intensity indefinitely. The whole point of recovery is to escape the pain of addiction, but the pain of addiction is what motivated you to change. People often find that it’s not some catastrophe or acute temptation that leads to relapse, but rather the feeling they’ve finally beaten addiction. They let their guard down.

There are several signs you might be getting complacent about sobriety. One, mentioned already, is that you start thinking that maybe you were never really an addict, or that now you have things under control. You can have one drink without any problem. Any thoughts along those lines are a red flag that should worry you.

Another sign is that you skip more and more meetings. Sure, things come up sometimes, but if you used to go to five meetings a week and now you only go to one or two a month, it’s worth asking why. Meetings are a regular reminder why you need to stay sober. At some point, meetings won’t feel like that big of a deal, but having regular contact with the group is a maintenance activity that keeps you on track. The same goes for any other activity that helps you stay sober, such as writing, exercising, or spending time with family. Any time you find yourself drifting back into old habits, you should notice and ask yourself whether you really want to keep moving in that direction.

If you feel like you’re getting complacent, there are a few things you can do. The first is just to rededicate yourself to the habits that kept you sober for so long. Go to meetings, be of service, spend time with supportive people, take care of your health, and so on. Stick to your good routine, even if you don’t always feel like it.

Second, scare yourself a little. Remember how you felt when you decided enough was enough and you had to get sober. Remember the pain, the fear, the anger, and the depression. Read some of your old writing from when you felt miserable and desperate. Resolve not to go down that road again.

Third, think about the good things that have happened since getting sober. Count your blessings. Think of the friends you’ve made and the money you’ve saved. Think about how proud you felt when you made it that first week and month. Develop a sense of gratitude for how much your life has improved in a relatively short time and think what a shame it would be to ruin it.

Sound Recovery’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 866-294-9401 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.