At over six years sober, I feel solid in my recovery. Many of us get to a point in our sobriety where we feel this way—but that doesn’t mean the work is over. I feel lucky that this is a process of continued growth, but it can feel easier sometimes to get complacent.
Contentment Versus Complacency
There is a difference between being content and being complacent. Sometimes people worry that if they’re content, they will stagnate. Contentment implies not just happiness, but satisfaction. What does satisfaction mean in the context of recovery, which requires consistent growth and change? Can they co-exist?
If you slacked on your recovery program because you felt you’d already done enough work, you would be complacent—which is essentially satisfaction without striving. On the other hand, immersing yourself in engaging hobbies, doing deep inner work, or being of service are all parts of growing in recovery that can feel deeply satisfying.
Tips for Staying Connected to Recovery
I’ve found that some of the most important ways to avoid complacency in recovery are to stay connected to sober friends and continue reading and learning about addiction. These things keep me excited about the path I’m on and remind me why it’s important. Mutual support between sober friends is healing. Talking about your experience with addiction and recovery, hearing those of others, and learning about these topics in general can be inspiring.
Another thing I’ve found helpful is to keep setting and working towards goals. This keeps me moving towards growth, and reminds me what I’m capable of when I stay sober. It promotes both forward momentum and gratitude for what sobriety has given me, which is a good combination for staying motivated.
However, avoiding complacency doesn’t mean never resting. A balance between growth and rest is important for recovery. If you’re going all the time, you’re bound to get burnt out. It can be hard to find that balance; it often takes time and practice. But resting is different than deciding that all the work of recovery is behind you.
It’s important to make space sometimes for reveling in what you’ve accomplished in sobriety. Recovery is a huge deal and something to be massively proud of. This can coincide with the knowledge that the work is always there—and that’s exciting.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you find both growth and contentment in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.