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Self-Sabotage: Stop Standing in Your Own Way

During active addiction, most of us felt that the negative consequences we experienced as a result of our drug use were warranted. We deserved the unhappiness, the shame, the guilt…whatever else. With that frame of mind, we’d often resort to patterns of self-sabotage to keep us going further in the gutter.

Unfortunately, even in recovery, we can still be our own worst enemy.

Self Destructive Patterns

The act of self-sabotage continues to feel comfortable and we may be choosing behaviors that we know deep down are harmful to our sobriety.

Sound familiar? Here are a couple ways that you might be sabotaging your own recovery:

    • Negative Self-Talk
      “I don’t deserve to be happy.”

      Many of us suffer from a core belief that we aren’t good enough and don’t deserve anything but the unhappiness felt while in our addiction. These thoughts translate into feelings of hopelessness and defeat, which can derail our recovery. Piling on the self-abuse and judgment is a sure-fire way to self-sabotage, so recognizing and counteracting these negative thoughts is key.

    • Self-Pity

      “Why does everything bad happen to me?”

      The problem with this common, self-pitying comment is that it robs us of motivation to recover and quickly turns into resentment, hopelessness or blame. Instead of taking responsibility, self-pity becomes a way to justify feeling sorry for ourselves and refusing to take positive action.


    • Ego

      “I’m not like so-and-so.”

      Feelings of superiority or thinking we’re going to beat others at recovery is typical of the ego that’s part of most addictive personalities. These thoughts typically mask deep-seeded insecurities, anxieties and fears and can get in the way of personal growth. After all, we’re meant to be in recovery for ourselves…not to be better than others in recovery around you.


    • Isolation

      “How can I possibly face the world without drugs or alcohol?”

      As most addicts know, sometimes the last thing we want to do is be in public and face the world. But, isolating fuels loneliness, depression and increases the occurrence of addictive thinking. Instead of shutting ourselves away from others, get involved in activities and ask for help, whether it be from family, friends or a support group.


  • Boredom

    “I’m bored to death, so why not get high?”

    Time that used to be devoted to drugs and alcohol is now available and this means that there is too much opportunity to convince ourselves that we should use again. Instead, stay busy with new activities, volunteer work and hobbies.

Maintaining Sobriety

So how can we prevent ourselves from getting in the way of our own sobriety? One of the keys to overcoming self-sabotage is to increase self-compassion and self-esteem. We’re kind of forced to become our biggest supporters, rather than our biggest adversaries. Implement positive self-talk and stay away from those who only spout negativity.

Also, it’s important to fill our days with purpose and meaning. Days spent productively will help us avoid those self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors that threaten our growth in recovery.
Additional Reading:   A Walk in My Shoes: One Day in the Life of a Recovering Addict

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