Congratulations to you if you are in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. That is a great feat in and of itself. But simply being free from addiction right now doesn’t mean that you will stay that way. There have been recovering addicts who don’t even realize that they sabotage their own addiction recovery. They become their own worst enemy, even above the alcohol or drugs.
Are you sabotaging your own addiction recovery?
As you progress in your recovery after drug rehab, it will serve you well to learn signs of self-sabotage, so that you do not engage in them. Many people who have successfully sabotaged their addiction recovery did not even see it coming. It snuck up on them and overtook them before they realized what was going on. However, as you continue to educate yourself on the disease of addiction and recovery in general, you’re less likely to let this happen to you.
What does self-sabotage mean?
To sabotage something means to destroy or ruin it. To self-sabotage means that you more than likely unconsciously try to ruin what’s going well for you. For example, some people who get into a romantic relationship begin to get a little freaked out when it continues to go well. When they feel happy for a period of time.
Maybe they’re used to chaos in their relationships or life, so when the water settles for any length of time, they get a little antsy. They get nervous, and unconsciously they start sabotaging. This is where the drama will arise, or walls will be erected, or planning the escape will come into play.
Self-sabotage usually occurs underneath the surface as well. Due to negative emotions about yourself deep down, you unconsciously say or do things that ruin or destroy the good that you have going for you, including your recovery.
The following are 10 signs that you may be sabotaging your own drug addiction treatment:
1. Not asking for help when you need it
The active addict tends to push others away and refuses to reach out for help when they need it. Call it pride or ego, but the active addict tends to isolate and not want to make the effort to surround him or herself with positive influences. If you find yourself isolating, or struggling with something and refusing to reach out for help, you could be setting yourself up to relapse. You could be self-sabotaging.
2. Living in denial
As you know, those who are steeped deep in addiction tend to live in denial. They think that they have their substance use under control, but it’s not true. When you’re in recovery, you have faced your addiction and admitted that you needed help in order to recover. If you start to have thoughts of using again, and ignore those thoughts, you could be in denial. You’re walking a fine line. When you can dismiss denial and reach out for help, you’re more likely to be successful in your recovery.
3. Pitying yourself
If you’re walking around in a pity party, and pointing fingers at everyone else, you could be setting yourself up for a relapse. When you do not take full responsibility for your emotions, actions, and sobriety, it’s easy to fall prey to the victim mentality. This is a form of self-sabotage that can lead to a relapse.
4. Stuffing your feelings
For many active addicts, stuffing feelings becomes a lifestyle. However, it doesn’t serve anyone well. As someone in recovery, experts assert that you ought to learn how to express your feelings in appropriate ways instead of bottling them up. If you find yourself stuffing your emotions repeatedly, it can lead to negative emotions, which can lead to a relapse. You may not realize that you’re doing this, so take inventory regularly to be sure that you’re tuning into your truth and speaking it when you need.
5. Allowing pride to rule
Pride, or ego, is essentially you thinking you’re better than everyone else or that your way is the only way. If you are a part of a drug rehab support group or 12-step group, be careful about letting pride rule the day. If you’re thinking that it’s a competition and you’ve got to be better than everyone else, you can easily set yourself up for disappointment and failure.
6. Negative mindsets
You can easily sabotage your drug addiction recovery by adopting a negative mindset. This means that you let negative thoughts rule your mind. While you were in treatment, you were probably encouraged to begin changing your thought life. Instead of identifying with thoughts that you are not good enough or you’ll never amount to anything, you’re encouraged to believe that you can create the kind of life that you really want. That you’re worthy of unconditional love no matter what. If you start to allow negative thoughts to run free in your mind, you could be unconsciously allowing sabotage into your life. Before you know it, those negative thoughts could have you picking up a drink or drug.
7. Hanging out with bad influences
It’s true that you can become just like those you hang out with. If you find yourself gravitating toward your old party crowd or beginning new friendships with sketchy people, you could be setting yourself up for a relapse. Not all of your friends have to be in recovery or living an amazing life, but the majority of your friendships ought to be healthy and somehow add value to your life. At the same time, you can add value to theirs.
8. Piling on the stress
Life can be stressful; that’s no secret. Upon leaving the drug treatment center, you probably received some good advice to keep your life free from stress overload. This makes for a more peaceful life and less pressure. One way recovering addicts may self-sabotage is taking on more and more responsibilities, or piling on the stress. Maybe they equate being busy with success, so they continually stay busy. On the surface, this can feel productive, but underneath the surface it can drain people and cause them to feel exhausted and burned out. These types of feelings can lead to relapse.
9. Allowing boredom to rule
On the flip side of being too busy can be not being busy at all. If you find yourself bored or just plain lazy, it may not serve you well. A healthy balance between resting and being productive can enhance your sense of well-being, which helps you stay sober. If you’re complaining of being bored a lot, instead of continuing to complain, do something about it and create a plan that allows for a healthy balance of doing versus being. If you’re not careful, boredom can lead you right back into the path of active addiction.
10. A dishonest life
Lies never get you to a spot that you enjoy. Lies not only hurt others, but hurt yourself. One way recovering addicts may self-sabotage their addiction recovery is by reverting back to their lying behaviors. They may miss their deceptive life before they entered drug rehab. They may lie to themselves and others and not even realize it. This is something that you’ll have to pay attention to, and regularly do an inventory. If you find yourself lying more often, be willing to look at it and make some changes.
Life after drug addiction treatment or drug rehab can be wonderful. Your new road traveling the recovery route can become the life that you’ve always dreamed of. It will require some hard work and consistency, but is well worth it. Assuming you want to continue your recovery and continue to grow in many ways, keep in mind these self-sabotaging behaviors and sit with yourself regularly to see if you are engaging in any. If you are, do what’s necessary to address it. If you need to see a counselor, feel free to spend some time with a therapist.
Remember that recovery is about progress; not perfection. Recovery is not always easy, and will require you to pick up some tools to help build yourself a strong recovery foundation. Know that you’re not alone, and there are always people willing to help you.