Author: Shernide Delva
Overconfidence in Recovery:
Confidence is supposed to be an excellent quality. We are always told to believe in ourselves in every endeavor we pursue. Whether it is a sport or a school exam, having confidence is touted as the key to success. However, when it comes to addiction recovery, can too much confidence actually become harmful?
Overconfidence Can Lead to Relapse:
The reality is too much confidence is not great in recovery. While it is great to have confidence in your program, it is important to stay humble. The emotions that arise from overconfidence can block underlying issues. Having an overconfident mindset can hinder your recovery process. It is important to make recovery a priority regardless of how much time you have.
Why Overconfidence Encourages Relapse:
- Distorted Self-Image: A major part of recovery is staying humble. Overconfidence makes someone believe that they are not as bad as newcomers. They may start to feel they no longer need their program and start to ponder if they are an addict at all. Overconfidence encourages the belief that it is not a huge deal to have a drink or use casually, which is far from true for an addict.
- Irrational Thoughts: Overconfidence can lead an addict to believe they deserve certain rewards in conjunction to their success. They might feel they are worthy of a celebration. They quickly convince themselves that one drink is not going to hurt them because they are now “in control” of their addiction. This is risky behavior and can lead someone down a slippery slope.
- Complacent Behavior: This is when an addict starts to believe that their addiction is not nearly as bad as they once thought. They start believing that they can now live normally due to the length of time they have been sober. They think they are cured so they slowly stop going to meetings and stop thinking of themselves as an addict. This leads to new addiction or a relapse.
Signs of Overconfidence Include:
- Rejecting suggestions from others
- Seeking immediate results
- Belief in having all the answers
- Always seeing your situation as unique from everyone else
- Feeling that you deserve preferential treatment
- Feeling “healed” or “in control”
- Always wanting to lead instead of listening
It is crucial to understand that addiction will not simply disappear. Regardless of how long you have been sober, addiction can always creep up again. Addiction is not a curable disease; it is a manageable disease that does not have room for overconfidence.
How We Become Too Confident:
Overconfidence may be a trait acquired in recovery, or it can be a trait a person struggled with before sobriety. In fact, most addicts battle overconfidence their entire life. For example, those times you tried to use and thought no one would notice.
Sadly, this behavior can persist after recovery even after hitting rock bottom. Even those with no history of overconfidence can start to become overzealous in their recovery program. They start to believe that they are above the rest of their friends and family because of the work they have done in their recovery.
Consequences of Overconfidence:
When you act too confident, you hurt yourself and others. You hurt others who are still learning to trust the person you have become. You hurt yourself because overconfidence increases the vulnerability to a relapse. It is important to remember that recovery is something that takes effort every single day. Regardless of how much time you have, stay humble in your program. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Remember to support others struggling, and stay focused on your recovery. Overconfidence is not a quality anyone should strive for. Instead, focus on staying sober every single day. If you are struggling to stay sober, or are currently having issues with substance abuse. Please reach out. We want to help you get back on track.
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7 Signs You’re Becoming Complacent in Your Recovery
Getting a life worth living is the outcome of a successful and active recovery. It allows you to regain the inspiration, motivation, and confidence to seek and obtain the things in life that make you happiest. Peace and stability return as a fixture of your daily functions, and you find yourself in a position to achieve more. The problem most people in recovery face is letting that new found confidence become complacency. When you stop seeking and become stagnant, you can even leave room for a possible relapse to find its way into the equation. Here is a list of 7 Signs you’re becoming complacent in your recovery.
1. You Stop Going to Meetings
Often one of the first things people in recovery start to take for granted is support groups and 12 Step Program Meetings. Most of us start to feel after a period of time that we have out-grown the need to be present at group meetings and therapeutic discussions focused on recovery. This is a definite mistake. Life does show up, and work and school for some can interfere with our regular schedule of meetings, but to write them off completely as un-necessary is a sign that we are beginning to take ourselves too seriously.
2. You Stop Taking Suggestions
Once life has balanced out and our affairs begin to organize themselves we start to accomplish things like promotions or job opportunities, new relationships, and material successes. At this point we may start to see that this new independence gives us reason to cut ties with the ones who helped build us up to this point. We think we no longer need to take advice or suggestions. We are convinced we have our own lives now and don’t need to be told how to live them. But if you don’t stay accountable to the sponsor you chose to help work your recovery or the support group you developed in order to save your life, then can you honestly trust yourself to stay accountable to any other relationship? When we become unteachable is when we put ourselves in danger.
3. You Don’t Help Others
This is a symptom of complacency I am personally familiar with. I had worked a 12 Step Program of action in order to build a spiritual foundation and clean up my own past. I was blessed with a life of sobriety and many material and personal achievements, but I did no work to help another afflicted person to find what I had found. If we revert to a selfish and arrogant state of mind, we cannot be useful to others. By losing focus on spiritual principles and thinking others don’t deserve our time is a clear sign we are not on the correct course of action. As well as outside the program of recovery, helping others is essential to maintaining a deeper appreciation.
4. You Are Easily Irritated
We are told a great deal in sobriety that acceptance and humility is huge in recovery. In my experience we have to do our best to understand others and keep our motives and emotions in check (within reason) to benefit others. At any point in sobriety that we start getting less and less accepting of others, that we start criticizing and degrading others, or we simply lose control of our serenity and aggression dominates every conversation we are edging towards disaster. When we fail to stay as peaceful as possible in the present moment and accept others as variables we cannot control, we begin to regress to old behaviors and our humility and love is compromised by the old demons like vanity, pride, and self-righteous habits.
5. You Don’t Appreciate Gifts of Sobriety
We talked about how sobriety can provide us the chance to acquire new personal relationships, financial means, and material possessions. Once we start changing our lives, the world offers new opportunities and achievements. When complacency takes hold, we begin to want more. We may feel we are now entitled to these gifts, and we can start to look at the blessings we have gotten until this point and think we deserve better. The things we have gained are not good enough. Again, we are being selfish and putting expectations on life that are products of pride. With this attitude people in recovery tend to stray from their program and pursue more than what they need to be truly happy.
6. You Stop Seeking Spirituality
The spiritual evolution of recovering addicts and alcoholics is an incredible process. Many have to start from scratch to build a concept and relationship with a Higher Power and some strain to find ways to nurture that relationship. Once this awareness has been established, you may settle for the same prayers and practices without trying to find ways to grow spiritually, or you might run the risk and stop exercising your spiritual fitness altogether. If you fail to remember the indispensable role your Higher Power plays in your new life, you start to become reliant on your own desires and opinions, which can lead you one day to believe that your desire to relapse is justified.
7. You Think You are Cured
Probably one of the biggest mistakes that results from being over confident and delusional in your recovery is believing you have come so far and changed so much that you have been cured. If you think it was God’s work or your own evolution, you may decide after overcoming so much in sobriety that you are not as sick as you once were. The desperation and despair is a fading memory and everything else is going your way, why wouldn’t this? Do not be fooled. If you suffer from the same disease as the majority of us do, there is always more work to be done.