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10 More Things it is Worth Giving Up in Recovery

recoveryGiving up alcohol or drugs will improve your life if you have developed an addiction to these substances. Choosing sobriety is probably the best decision you could ever make. Giving up your addiction increases your level of happiness, but an additional ten things you can give up would boost your well-being even further.

1. Give Up On Self-Hatred

It is common for many who are struggling with an addiction problem to develop low self-esteem; it may even have been this sense of poor self-worth that drove these individuals to abuse these substances in the first place. If you allow self-hatred to control your thinking in recovery, it can mean that you will never find happiness. It is vital that you are able to show compassion towards yourself, not setting goals that are unrealistic while stopping constantly criticising yourself.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

The only person you need to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Every human is on his or her own journey. The goal in recovery is for you to keep on making progress so you can be the best person you can be – it is about becoming the best ‘you’ and not the best somebody else. The real danger with comparing yourself to others is that it means you are always going to feel ‘better than’ or ‘worse than’. It is also important to keep in mind that these subjective judgements about others are usually wrong.

3. Stop Blaming Other People

When things go wrong in your life, it is vital that you are able to determine the mistakes you made and, if you can do this, it means that you will be able to learn from the experience and do better next time. If your automatic reaction is to just blame others then it means that you will never be able to learn from these mistakes. Sometimes it is important to hold others accountable for their actions, but it can also be a huge waste of time to pass the blame.

4. Stop Waiting for an Addiction Cure

One of the most important things you need to give up in recovery is the hope for some type of cure that would allow you to return to alcohol or drug use. So long as you hold on to this hope, you will never be able to commit fully to sobriety. The solution is to build such a great life in recovery that you would not even want to give it up should some type of magical pill (that has the power to turn you into a social drinker or ‘safe’ drug user) become available.

5. Stop Complaining About Your Life

It will always be possible to find things to complain about in life – it is the same for everyone. Happy people are not the way they are because everything is perfect for them – they are happy because they are better able to focus on the good things in their life when compared to the average person.

The more you complain about your life, the worse you will feel about things. You can talk yourself into feeling depressed, pessimistic, and cynical. You can also damage your relationships with others because it is hard to spend time with a person who is complaining all the time. If you commit to complaining less in the future, it will lead to great improvements in your life. It means that you will no longer be talking yourself into being miserable.

6. Give up Trying to Control Others

If your happiness depends on your ability to control others, it means you could be doomed to an extremely unsatisfying future. The reality is that each human is an individual, all having their own agendas and personality quirks. Your attempt to control others is likely to be met with resistance; it also destroys friendships. It is also unethical to try to manipulate others into following your whims.

The one person you can have control over is yourself. If you focus on exerting your power in this direction, it can allow you to enjoy a much better future.

7. Stop Putting Conditions on Your Recovery

Life would be incredibly boring if you always knew what was going to happen next. The future is unknowable, very likely to be far different from what you expect – this is a good thing. This means that if you always expect things to work out in a certain way, you would certainly be regularly disappointed. These disappointments can lead to resentment and disillusionment with recovery, and you may even use it as a justification to relapse.

It is sometimes the case that individuals enter recovery with a list of condition. These are things they expect to happen in order for them to be willing to commit to recovery. This approach to sobriety is a mistake as it means the person’s sobriety is conditional. Things rarely work out exactly as planned, so these conditions are more-or-less a form of self-sabotage. In many instances, the person will be sabotaging their recovery deliberately so he or she can just have an excuse to drink or use drugs again.

By giving up your addiction, you will be creating the conditions whereby your life can improve. The exact nature of these improvements is difficult to determine; it all depends on your own personality and inner resources. The best approach to sobriety is to just be satisfied with the idea that things will improve and do not try to control things too much. It is often the turns in life that you were not expecting that end up being the most beneficial paths.

8. Stop Running Away From Your Problems

Substance abuse is an attempt to run away from problems. When you become sober, there is the risk that you can attempt to run away from problems in new ways. This could include things like comfort eating, internet addiction, gambling, porn addiction, relationship addictions, exercise addiction, and work addiction. So long as you keep running away from problems, it will not be possible for you to progress. This is because by hiding from life, you are not dealing with challenges and will not benefit from the self-development that occurs while dealing with them.

9. Quit Obsessing About the Past

Nothing can be done to change the past – it is a done deal. There may be things you feel ashamed about, but feeling guilty does not benefit anyone. If you want to make up for the mistakes of the past, you just need to focus on being a better person today. Some individuals do decide to make amends for their past mistakes (this is part of the 12 Steps), which can be another effective way to put the past behind you.

10. Stop Seeing the World in Black and White

You do not need to be a philosopher to understand that life is very mysterious and complex. Black and white answers to things are usually wrong. This is why it is best to keep an open mind and always be ready to change your beliefs and opinions upon receiving new and more reliable information. 

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