Recovering from drug addiction is not an easy feat. People who, luckily, do not go through it often wonder why addicts find it so difficult to control their urges for their addiction. For them, walking away from their addiction and following the path to recovery may seem simple and uncomplicated. One major factor that stops addicts from recovering from their addiction is their ego. Many people believe that drug addicts have low self-esteem and they always think less of themselves. Ego, however, is a completely different thing.
So, What is Ego?
In simple words, you may consider ego as a conditioned or false self – it is not the real ‘you’. Rather, your ego is what you believe you are.
According to Sigmund Freud’s personality structure, ego is the organized part that includes perceptual, defensive, executive, and intellectual-cognitive functions. While conscious awareness resides in the ego for the most part, some operations are unconscious. The ego comprises a set of psychic functions, such as planning, control, judgment, defense, tolerance, reality testing, intellectual processing, information synthesis, and memory.
Ego in addiction has more to do with the concept that the world revolves around ‘me’. It is about the idea that everyone else is a reflection of something better or worse than ‘I’ am, everything bad that happens is personally directed towards ‘me’, and everything good was meant for ‘me’. In addiction recovery, these thoughts tend to amplify so much so that no one else seems to matter, As discussed in this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/201306/the-elements-ego-functioning
Ego and Addiction Recovery
An inflated sense of ego is very powerful and it can prove to be one of the worst poisons for your addiction recovery. It has the power to make you perceive things differently, damaging your sense of reality.
With a big ego, you are likely to think less of people around you, disregard and devalue their opinions, and become critical of them. Ego simply makes you push people away and leaves you trapped in your own selfish desires with a closed mind.
When you are full of pride, it is easy to see why you may find it difficult to accept that you have a problem, let alone ask for help from ‘others’. This is the reason why most drug addicts do not find it in them to show up for a meeting or a therapy session during recovery. After all, doing so would shatter all that ego they have built up by abusing a substance of their choice.
A concept known as ego fatigue is popular in the recovery community. Drug addicts know that recovery would bring them long-term sobriety and relief – but then there is this temptation of immediate relief by getting high. Even though they are aware of the benefits of becoming sober for good and the possible consequences of abusing a substance, they still find it hard to resist the temptation.
Ego plays a crucial role in addiction recovery, such that it can serve as a huge stumbling block to hold back your recovery.
Four Risks Inflated Ego Poses to Addiction Recovery
Pride and big ego can ruin your recovery by posing the following risks.
An inflated sense of ego can make you complacent. Complacency makes you feel smug and gives an uncritical satisfaction. This, in turn, makes you think that you have no room for improvement, leaving you susceptible to being attacked by unexpected threats that may repel those achievements.
Too big an ego can make you oblivious and lose awareness of the happenings around you. When your pride makes you think you are above everyone else to a certain degree, you think other people and things do not deserve even the littlest of your time, attention, and efforts.
Obliviousness may inhibit you from preparing for unforeseen things and thus, you may end up making huge mistakes.
With a big ego, drug addicts tend to be careless and do not feel the need to put efforts into anything. Even when making decisions, big or small, they cannot care less and this often results in huge mistakes that they regret later. It also negates all sense of triumph and achievement you may have felt earlier.
Having an inflated sense of ego during addiction recovery can make you distance yourself from people who you may think are inferior to you. This perceived pool of unworthy people basically includes everyone who does not share in your achievements or possessions. This alienation from the people around you is bound to leave you with little to no support and encouragement in times of need during your recovery.
Additional Dangers of a Big Ego
As an addict who has successfully managed to stay sober for a certain period of time (let’s say a year), you may feel on top of the world and overly proud of yourself. This may make you believe that nothing in the world can beat you now or derail your recovery. As a result, you will be left vulnerable because you will probably stop focusing on the things that you must continuously do to maintain sobriety. This is perhaps the worst combination of complacency, carelessness, and obliviousness creeping up altogether.
Furthermore, having an inflated ego puts you at risk of putting no continuous efforts into ensuring the longevity of your sobriety. You must understand that recovery is not a task that you can do in a few days and check off the list. Recovery is a form of lifestyle. To get and remain sober for the rest of your life, you need to continuously focus and work for it. The biggest threat that a big ego poses to your recovery is that it makes you think you can never experience a relapse. This may encourage you to take more risks and act carelessly.
The bottom line is that having excess pride can make you less protective of your recovery, which is indeed a recipe for disaster.
Replacing Ego with Humility
In addiction recovery, humility counteracts ego by making you think of yourself less. For some addicts, prayer, meditation, and exercise work great. For all, a supportive environment that helps deplete your ego in a recovery center is always beneficial.
Arizona Addiction Recovery Center offers all kinds of help when it comes to addiction recovery. We aim to make your recovery journey less complicated by helping you undergo a successful detoxification process, teaching you helpful strategies to beat substance cravings, and providing you the social support you need for lifelong sobriety.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.