Author: Justin Mckibben
Recovery is about letting go, and about gaining new ground. Getting off drugs and alcohol are essential to the recovery process for an addict of course, but those are not the only the things we have to let go of in order to really get something out of sobriety. We don’t get to just give up drinking or using and expect that our lives will become exciting and fulfilling without changing some destructive behaviors and some old harmful belief systems, but once we are willing to give some of these things up, we have opportunity to gain so much more. These are 9 things to give up in recovery.
Lies are a huge problem when it comes to sobriety. People say that our secrets keep us sick, and that the more we try to hide who we are and what we have done, and the more we lie to everyone around us, the closer we come to a drink or drug, because or mind-state is stuck with the perspective of hurting others to get what we want out of life.
Toxic relationships tend to be a trend among addicts and alcoholic, and in recovery it becomes apparent to most that we cannot latch onto others to support us in a healthy way in our recovery. It is safe to develop relationships with others, especially sober supports and peers in recovery, but to create codependent relationships that you rely on for sanity, serenity, and happiness is counter-productive and self-destructive.
One huge concept in the recovery community we hear a lot about is resentments. Basically resentment is like holding a grudge, and for the addict or alcoholic this grudge will grow to define you if you let it. Resentment is something we are frequently reminded we must try to let go, and new resentments crop up all the time, so it is important to try and stay self-aware in order to dump that baggage.
Forgiveness is not just for our resentments and those who we deem have wronged us. In recovery addicts and alcoholics must remember to forgive ourselves. Letting go of our guilt and shame can be a great impact, and mean the difference between growth or morbid reflection that keeps us obsessed with the mess and detached from the solution.
With letting go of that guilt, we should consider working towards giving up the methods by which addicts and alcoholics harm themselves other than drinking and using. Some of us have serious issues with self-inflicted injuries whether it is cutting, eating disorders, or other dangerous habits. If someone wants to keep a healthy recovery, and they struggle with something like this, they should look for ways to alleviate that issue.
Manipulation is pretty closely related to lying and/or blaming others. As addicts and alcoholics we know how to try and pull all the strings and arrange everything in a way that most benefits us or our motives. Addicts are really good at trying to convince others and push the world around us to move in a direction that serves our purpose, to the point where it becomes more subconscious than anything. So in recovery we must be careful not to give too much power to our manipulation if we wish to remain honest and humble.
- Blaming Others
It’s so important to give up blaming others for the issues we face in our lives, or for the past playing out the way it did that leads us to where we are. So many people, especially addicts, get good at playing the victim and justifying ourselves based on the faults we try to find in others. In sobriety we cannot continue to shield ourselves by pointing out when people don’t meet the expectations we assume to hold them to.
Prejudice is probably one of the most dangerous things in the world. And this is not meant to just mean race, because prejudice goes so far beyond base skin tones. Prejudice includes men and women, young and old, all races and countries. Human beings become prejudice against the cultures, beliefs, and even the appearance of others. In recovery one of the most ridiculous things you can possibly do is hold on to a prejudice, because at the end of the day who are you to judge another addict or alcoholic? Staying open-minded to those around you can save your life.
Positive or negative, ego is poisonous. The ego is in my opinion the most difficult to let go. The reason being I believe the ego is so difficult to try and give up is because you don’t have to be over-confident or proud. You could be self-loathing and manic-depressive, but either way you are making yourself sick with your ego. That self-image doesn’t always have to be a picture of perfection but when we paint a self-portrait and obsess over that image, and refuse to humble ourselves enough to take others into consideration before that ego, then we are fighting against our spiritual growth and sobriety.
Recovery is about more than just leaving behind our drug abuse or drinking. It is about giving up our own behaviors and surviving old old habits, because addiction is based on more than drugs and alcohol, and if we hope to build a new foundation and maintain sobriety we have to be willing to give up our selfish and self-serving ways if we have any hope of saving ourselves. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135