Think You’ve Got Addiction “Beat”? Think Again
There is always danger in complacency, whether it’s with our personal health, our careers, our quality of life or anything else. The minute we start taking things for granted and stop trying to improve ourselves, we take our eye off the prize. All things being equal, we may not get too hurt by our complacency, but rather just miss out on some of life’s rewards (that promotion, that new home, that weight loss goal, etc.). For those of us in recovery, however, complacency and be toxic and very quickly lead to relapse. It’s also a very real threat to those of us who have years of sobriety under our belts.
As we move further along on our recovery journeys, many of us have the inclination to become a bit more lax in our regular routines. We may skip meetings, cancel appointments with our therapists and even get bolder regarding our level of involvement in dangerous situations. We “feel” strong enough to take on more obligations, and often wind up biting off more than we can chew. After a while, we may start to experience the same old pressure and stress that caused us to start using in the first place, and we may even think about using more and more as a way to cope.
The addiction recovery landscape is full of stories of people who let complacency derail years of consistent sobriety. While we should be exceedingly proud of our time in recovery, we should also remember to nurture it rather than use it as an excuse to not be diligent. We can pull back the reins a little bit as we get more comfortable in our routines, but we should always be mindful of the lifelong path in front of us. As painful as it is to admit, addiction is never “over”. It can, however, remain a part of our past; a past that grows more distant as we continue to work hard in our recovery.