The path of addiction often leads to selfishness and an attitude that focuses mainly on meeting the addict’s own needs. Addictive behaviors cause people to isolate themselves and push away friends and family members. As their decision making and coping skills break down they often lose the ability to consider the needs and emotions of others and they reach a highly self-centered state.
That’s one reason why an important part of recovery is reconnecting with other people and learning to see outside yourself again. Although in recovery you must be introspective and learn to care for yourself, you must also begin to learn the art of being selfless and giving to other people.
Getting ridding of selfish and self-destructive tendencies can help prevent relapse and keep you on the journey to sobriety. Being more selfless and considering other people’s feelings can also improve relationships and create more harmony in your life overall.
Helping Other Addicts
Recovery can often mean letting go of your ego, pride and narcissistic tendencies. We live in a culture that often encourages individuality and personal gain which can sometimes lead to a self-centered attitude.
However, focusing mainly on your own concerns, worries, difficulties and desires can actually cause more suffering in the end. An addict tends to focus on themselves and their needs because their world becomes consumed by substance abuse. A person with an addiction can stop caring about other people’s feelings or their perspective on things.
In recovery an addict must learn to let go of their selfishness by taking steps toward being more selfless. One of the most important ways that this can happen is by taking action and helping other people. Recovery takes place in a community and helping others who are suffering with the same disease of addiction can benefit everyone in the group.
This can be a good way for addicts to develop and practice empathy because it may be easier to identify with another addict’s story and relate to their feelings. Eventually it can become a habit to think more about other people and be outwardly focused.
Considering How Actions Affect Others
In order to put aside some of their selfish tendencies, addicts need to alter the way they make decisions or choices in their life. In the past, they may have been primarily motivated by their own desires or tended to make choices that were for themselves alone.
In recovery, an addict needs to learn to deconstruct their decisions before acting and begin to ask themselves “will my choice harm myself or others?” Considering how a decision will affect people around you is a key element in reducing selfish tendencies. Acting in ways that help others rather than harm them will help you to make better choices in recovery. Thinking about your actions beforehand and choosing a better path will improve your life in the long run.
One of the foundations of most recovery programs is service because it promotes selflessness for people with addictions. Service is really one of the best recovery tools available because it provides a number of the benefits that addicts really need. Service can reduce stress and worries because you are no longer focusing on your own problems but working for someone else.
It can also help people think about what is truly important rather than a narrow view of their own life. Service oriented goals should be a part of the recovery process at every step and should continue to be a priority for the rest of your life. Doing things for others is selflessness in action and it is something that every addict needs to combat their own selfish tendencies.