At some point during their journey of recovery, every addict reaches a more comfortable place where they feel more confident about their ability to remain sober. They have already faced many challenges and overcome numerous obstacles to get where they are and they may feel satisfied with what they’ve accomplished.
There is nothing wrong with feeling good about where you are in recovery but there is some danger in being in a state of complacency. Twelve step programs often warn their members about complacency because it is a common problem that can cause people to falter and even lead to relapse.
Complacency can be dangerous because it can stop people from working hard, learning new things or being cautious about triggers and temptation. An addict who feels complacent and lazy about their progress could backslide and even relapse in some cases. It is important to have a strategy in place before a feeling of complacency becomes problematic and endangers your recovery.
Continued Effort and Self-Improvement
At the core of complacency is a feeling that you no longer have to work for continued success. It is natural for addicts to be eager and motivated in the very early days of recovery and to do their best to achieve their goals. As time passes though they might begin to forget how bad things were and they may even take their sobriety for granted. They start to gradually put less effort in to their work and let things slide.
To prevent this from happening, addicts need to realize that there is no point at which your addiction is “cured” and you can relax or forget about work in recovery. Things may get easier but you have to continue working hard to achieve new goals, learn new things about yourself and pursue mental and spiritual growth.
It is always a good idea to examine what you are doing in recovery and think about which areas you might be neglecting then focus some special effort in those areas. Think of ways you can improve yourself and be more committed to your sober lifestyle rather than believing you have it all figured out.
Staying Involved in the Community
It is better to take a proactive approach against complacency because it is a threat for every addict in recovery. One of the most effective ways to avoid complacency is to stay active in the recovery community. Even long after you have reached a point of comfort with your sober lifestyle you can still be involved in twelve step programs or other groups which are always renewing your commitment to recovery.
Devoting time to helping other people in recovery is one of the best ways to avoid taking sobriety for granted. It is a reminder of where you’ve come from and what would happen if you returned to your old lifestyle. It also makes you accountable for your actions because someone is relying on you for guidance. Being a sponsor or mentor to someone keeps recovery in your mind and strengthens your ties to a sobriety program.
Preventing complacency can be challenging as it can be a natural feeling after months of hard work and successful change. However, using strategies to stop complacency will help you maintain your success in the long term and prevent any issues of relapse. Remain conscious and aware, noticing any feelings of complacency so that you can turn those thoughts around and continue to work hard. A successful recovery requires continued effort and commitment to sobriety for the rest of your life. Avoiding the dangers of self-satisfaction, laziness and taking things for granted is better for you in the bigger picture of long term sobriety.