Being called selfish is not usually considered a compliment. As humans, we have acclimated to the idea that we need to understand and adapt to our surroundings to survive. Our ancient ancestors knew that in order to provide for and sustain the well-being of their families they needed to take care of themselves first. Nowadays, the idea of being selfish is frowned upon in most societies but when it comes to recovering from a debilitating addiction, it could be the difference between life or death.
Recovery can be one of the hardest endeavors someone takes on and requires the kind of personal attention you may not be used to. The relationship you have with yourself is the main ground for the recovery process. Being selfish in recovery doesn’t mean the needs of others should not matter to you, it’s about self-care and knowing how and when to give and take in your personal life. Your job, relationships, and responsibilities can be strained when you go into recovery and creating healthy boundaries and prioritizing while you give yourself time to heal can immensely increase the quality of your personal well being. Giving too much of yourself at the expense of your inner peace can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration that, in the long run, could deter you from your recovery goals.
Your relationship with sobriety is vital to the recovery process. There is no sure-fire way to run down the road to recovery successfully and the stress of everyday responsibilities can be daunting as well as threatening to your sobriety. Knowing your triggers can help you create positive and useful coping mechanisms to reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s just important to take a step back and a deep breath to gain momentum and recognize when you need to give yourself the most attention.
Why is being selfish important in recovery?
Because putting your healing first is a top priority. You have dreams and aspirations and addictions prevent you from being the best version of yourself. You want to thrive not just survive and that requires extra personal attention. What about the others in my life, don’t their needs matter? Yes, but you decide the boundaries because your healing and recovery depend on you not them. Communicate your needs and those who truly care will understand that at this time it’s all about you. Learning to care for and love yourself in a way that heals you from an addiction is one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones. But you need to give it yourself first.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.