Making significant progress in your recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol is definitely something to be proud of, but too often it is those early signs of success that cause recovering addicts to put their guards down to early in the ongoing fight for sobriety. Complacency is actually one of the leading causes for relapse for recovering addicts, so it is highly important to watch out for it and be mindful of the ways that it can sneak into your addiction recovery mindset. Here is what you need to know about complacency in addiction recovery.
What it looks like
Complacency by definition is smug or uncritical satisfaction for one’s achievements. In terms of recovery, this could mean taking a newly sober life for granted, failing to recognize all of the hard work that went into establishing it and assuming that such a lifestyle will continue to be the norm from here on out. If you ever find yourself early on in your recovery wanting to say that you have been cured, or feeling as though you are clear of the dangers of addiction, chances are you are exhibiting some degree of complacency towards your recovery.
Why it’s dangerous
Complacency is dangerous because it is self-satisfaction coupled with an unawareness of the dangers that still exist for anyone who is recovering from addiction. Not taking into account these dangers that still exist—the influence of user friends and temptations to use “just once,” for example—can leave you unprepared, lacking of ample self-discipline and willpower when those big temptations come. Complacency can make a recovering addicts feel overly confident about their abilities to remain sober while in an especially temptation-filled environment as well, causing them to expose themselves to more temptations than they should.
How to handle complacency
The best way to handle complacency is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what it looks like. Note that there is a difference between complacency and confidence—it’s okay to feel confident about your achievements, but this confidence must be coupled with a caution toward the dangers of relapse that still exist for recovering addicts. Recovery is a journey, after all—not a destination. Keep in mind throughout your recovery from addiction that it will require consistent, continuing efforts on your part, even years down the road, and with this attitude you will be able to keep the dangers of complacency at bay. Other complacency-combatting techniques include keeping a recovery journal, remaining an active member of your addiction recovery alumni group, helping others stay in control of their sobriety, and regularly reminding yourself of the things that you are grateful for.