You might be newly clean and sober or you might have a lot of time in sobriety, either way, when it comes to recovery from addiction, we must remain ever-vigilant. That said, there are several things that we do to undermine our program of recovery at one time or another and this could lead us down a path of self-destruction. Here are 11 ways you are sabotaging your recovery.
#1. You keep your feelings to yourself
You’ve probably had it drilled into your head by now that you can’t keep your feelings to yourself. If you don’t tell anyone how you are feeling, then how is anyone going to know that you might be in a bad spot and could use a little love and support?
#2. You listen to your distorted thinking
Instead of turning to your sponsor and sober supports as a sounding board, you’re listening to one person, alone: you. That’s risky business. As recovering alcoholics and addicts, we struggle with distorted thoughts and perceptions. We must remain ever-vigilant and be willing to turn to others, whom we trust, for insight and suggestions (see # 11).
#3. You won’t reach out to others for support and/or you refuse help
Everyone seems to be doing so well and you don’t want to burden them with your problems. This is your disease talking to you and it’s related to #2.
#4. You convince yourself that you’ll always feel this bad
You will no doubt experience peaks and valleys of good times and not-so-good times in your recovery. After all, we have to be able to deal with life on life’s terms. But, you might be sabotaging your recovery if you find that your thinking has become fatalistic; you think things will never get better. This often leads to a case of the “fuck-its” and that is very dangerous territory.
#5. You’re isolating
You’ve heard it said a lot in treatment, therapy, and in the rooms: we have to be careful to not isolate, especially when we’re feeling bad or experiencing our distorted thoughts. If notice that you’re shirking social responsibilities more and more, be careful. You just might be setting yourself up for a fall.
#6. Wait for things to get better on their own
Move a muscle, change a thought. You have to take action to change things; things will not simply change without any effort from you. Whether it’s simply praying or meditating, or taking a ‘bigger’ action like applying for a new job, if your current one isn’t serving you.
#7. You’re pretending that everything is fine
Whether for your own sake or for the sake of others, you’re putting on a happy face when you’re really feeling bad. There’s no need for the charade. Speak out and reach out. That’s why it’s called ‘fellowship.’
#8. You’re making bad health choices
If you usually make it a point to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest, yet, recently, you haven’t been taking care of yourself and your health in this way, this is yet another indication that you’re undermining your own recovery.
#9. You’re being selfish and self-serving
You seem to have stopped caring about others and aren’t willing to do service, whether it’s something you do at your home group or meeting with sponsees. This is a clear indication that you’re sabotaging your recovery program.
#10. You stop taking your medication(s) without consulting your doctor first
If you are on medication for a psychological or mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar, you can’t simply stop taking your meds. Be sure to talk it over with your doctor. And, if the meds have been helping you in your recovery, decide why it is that you want to stop your meds. You just might be setting yourself up for unnecessary difficulties and possibly relapse.
#11. You’re unwilling to take suggestions from your sober supports and friends
Being unwilling to take suggestions is yet another obvious way that you are sabotaging your recovery and could be headed for trouble.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.