Is it wrong to be selfish in early recovery?

Is it wrong to be selfish when you’re newly clean and sober? Yes. And no. We review both sides of the argument for and against selfishness in addiction recovery here.

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Selfishness in addiction recovery

Many people talk about putting yourself first in order to recover from drug, alcohol or chemical addictions. For some people, early recovery may be a necessary time of self-reflection and time spent alone. Others, however, cannot really afford to shelter from the storm of life, and must press on. We’ll attempt to talk here about prioritizing the “self” in early recovery by offering thoughts on both sides of the fence.

What do you think? Please share your feedback and comments below.

1. No, it is OK to be selfish in early recovery

The most important thing that you have to do in recovery is to stay clean. For some people, selfishness is a survival mechanism in early recovery. In fact, selfishness is not even a choice but is a mark of where you are in your psycho-spiritual development. If you’re not capable of doing else than being selfish, but you can stay clean and sober, then continue doing what you’re doing. But, be sure to define “early recovery” within a certain time frame (up to 1 year seems good)…and try not to use selfishness as an excuse to do bad things. Do what you can, and put effort into growing up and out of selfishness as you accumulate clean time.

2. Yes, it’s wrong to be selfish in early recovery

In active addiction, addicts and alcoholics are by nature selfish. Addiction is a self-centered disease, which not only feeds on the mental, physical, and spiritual elements of the self, but drains the lives of loved ones. Responsibilities and obligations do not matter to the active addict, but should become more important to an addict in recovery. Otherwise, it is unfair to the people that have been “taken hostage” during addictive periods. Continued selfishness in early recovery can be a refusal to grow out of an immature state of mind, and needs to be overcome.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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