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10 Less Obvious Signs that Your Recovery Needs More Work

danger thin iceSometimes it can be fine to just coast along in recovery. As long as you are still doing all the things you need to be done in order to stay sober, it is usually okay to enjoy this reprieve from the storms of life. The danger is though that this lack of challenge can mean you become stuck in your comfort zone, which can be bad for your sobriety; even if you remain sober, it is still likely to mean that you are getting far less from recovery than what you could be getting.

There are some obvious signs that you have gone off track in recovery such as stinking thinking and dry drunk syndrome, but things will have already progressed quite far before you notice these symptoms. There are other less obvious signs that your recovery needs work and, if you spot these right away, they can allow you to get back on track much faster. Below are just 10 of the less obvious signs you need to be looking out for.

1. Arguing with People on Social Media

If you devote hours of your day to arguing with people online then it is almost certain that more work needs to be done on your recovery. This type of activity is usually an attempt to externalise your inner discomfort. After all, if you are honest with yourself, you will see that this type of online argument serves no useful purpose; it just causes bad feelings for you and the other person. If you feel the urge to argue with others, it is usually a sign that something is bugging you. It would be much better for you to locate the source of this inner discomfort rather than continuing to get involved in these online battles.

2. You Post ‘Selfies’ to Social Media Regularly

At the moment, posting ‘selfies’ (photographs of yourself) to social media websites like Facebook is popular, but this is often a sign of low self-esteem (although not always). One of the reasons individuals like to share these photos is that they are looking from approval from peers. This is a natural thing to do, but if you are constantly looking for such approval then it could suggest that you are just not confident in yourself. The reality is that even if every person in the word tells you that you are ‘fantastic’, it matters not until such a time that you believe you are fantastic. If you suspect that you are becoming too obsessed with sharing selfies, it may be a sign that you need to start working more on self-compassion.

3. You Rarely Feel Grateful About Things

If you are unable to feel grateful for the things in your life now, it might not matter how much more you get in the future. This is because your level of happiness is always about your ability to appreciate what you have and not to keep on accumulating more goodies and achievements. Developing more gratitude can radically transform your life. One way that you can develop this perspective is to begin keeping a gratitude list.

4. You Get Angry Easily

Being quick to get angry is one of the surest signs that your recovery is in danger. This is especially true if your anger outbursts involve losing control and doing things you later regret. This anger is another sure sign that there are issues you are not dealing with, and it can indicate that you have poor control over your emotions. Now would be a good time to get some anger management strategies, and you will also want to focus on developing your emotional sobriety; physical sobriety without emotional sobriety means you will continue to suffer and cause problems for others.

5. You Enjoy Hearing about the Failures of Others

‘Schadenfreude’ is a German word that is often used to describe the tendency of some people to rejoice in the failures of others. This is a type of stinking thinking that occurs due to low self-esteem; hearing about others doing bad makes the person feel better about his or her own lack of success. It is also much easier to focus on the faults of others than personal faults. If you have been engaging in Schadenfreude recently, you might want to ask yourself why you are doing this and whether it is a good use of your time

6. You Feel Like an Imposter

If you feel that you do not deserve to be happy in recovery, or you feel like you are just acting, this can be a sign that you are dealing with low self-esteem. This type of thinking is referred to as imposter syndrome, and it is relatively common. The way to overcome it is by developing enough self-compassion to understand that you are just as deserving of happiness as anyone else in the world. You have worked hard for any of the success you achieve in life, so you deserve the fruits of this.

7. You Go On the Defensive Easily

If you tend to take things the wrong way then this could be a sign that you go on the defensive too easily. It means you are just not experiencing enough inner-comfort, which is being demonstrated by the fact that you have such a thin skin. In order to overcome this tendency to be always on the defensive, you need to work on developing some more inner-strength.

8. You Resist Any Demands Placed Upon You

Demand resistance often originates from growing up in a home where the expectations placed upon you were unrealistically high. One way to respond to impossible demands from parents is to start rebelling. The problem is that this strategy becomes a habit and it leads to demand resistance whereby you automatically respond to any demands placed on you by becoming resistant; this can even include the demands you place upon yourself. If you automatically say ‘no’ to things then it can be a sign that you are dealing with the condition. The good news is that the fact that demand resistance is a habit means that you can overcome it by deliberately not resisting.

9. Your Life is Out of Balance

If you spend most of your time focused on one area of your life, it is a sign that you are out of balance. This would be the case if you are obsessed with work, spend too much time online, or devote hours every day to exercise. The key to happiness is to have a balanced lifestyle, meaning a good mix of physical, mental, and spiritual activities. This is why you need to always be careful and make sure you have a good mix of hobbies rather than becoming too obsessed with just one of them.

10. You Engage in Comfort Eating

Comfort eating does not only lead to obesity and health problems, but it is also a sign that all is not well with your recovery. This type of diet disorder is an attempt to eat away your feelings. It occurs because as a child you learned to associate eating with reward; this also explains why you probably turn to certain types of food for comfort. Eating too much will never make you happy, and it will only lead to even more problems in your life. There are many techniques for overcoming comfort eating and one of them is to learn to eat more mindfully; this way you will clearly see for yourself that eating too much isn’t helping and you will become willing to change the behaviour.

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