Individuals dealing with addiction can become expert self-saboteurs. Rather than dealing with uncomfortable feelings and experiences and finding constructive solutions, individuals with addiction rely on drugs and alcohol. The impulse to temporarily escape one problem only creates bigger ones (Psych Central).
Listed are Several Signs of Self-Sabotage in Recovery and Hope to Overcome Them:
Common monologues may include: “I can’t cope.” “I don’t deserve to be happy.” Many individuals struggling with addiction suffer from a core belief that they are not good enough or do not deserve anything but the misery they have experienced in active addiction. They accept self-judgments and abuse they would never tolerate from other people.
These thoughts lead to feelings of hopelessness and defeat, leaving the addict feeling desperate for a high and powerless to resist. Recognizing and intervening in this ongoing negative commentary and substituting more accurate thinking is an essential skill in recovery.
Grieving for one’s losses can be an integral part of the healing process. The problem arises when self-pity turns one into a continuous victim that stays powerless and ineffective. Instead of taking responsibility, self-pity becomes a way to justify blaming others or refusing to take positive action. While self-pity may have served a purpose in active addiction, left untamed, it can jeopardize your recovery.
Most addicts know the dangers of isolation in recovery. The habit is so ingrained that their natural inclination is to withdraw without even realizing it. Isolation fuels loneliness and depression, increasing the likelihood of a return to addictive thinking and behavior. As with many aspects of recovery, the antidote is within your control: Get involved in activities you enjoy and ask for help, whether from family, friends, a support group, sponsor or other trusted source.
You can’t block all stress from your life, whether you’re in recovery or not, but you can control how you react to everyday stressors. If you take on too much too soon or refuse to say no when you’re overextended, you make yourself more vulnerable to drug cravings and relapse. Perspective is vital in how individuals respond to stress. Rationally approaching a stressful situation increases the likelihood that an effective response will be elicited in dealing with that stressor.
Another enemy to recovery that is well within the addict’s control is boredom. Meetings and counseling sessions are integral parts of a recovery program, but they are not sufficient to make each day joyful and fulfilling. To fill the time once spent getting and using drugs, you’ll need to explore new interests, create an enjoyable daily routine and discover what gives your life meaning.
So how can you prevent yourself from getting in the way of your own recovery? The first step is making yourself aware of negative thinking and problem behavior, whether through journaling, self-help support groups, counseling or other means, and taking responsibility for your sobriety. In recovery, you have all kinds of new freedoms, including the ability to turn your inner voice into your biggest supporter. And as the African proverb says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.