Do you ever find yourself examining your life, thinking about all the bad things that have ever happened and how unfair it is that you seem to have more than your share? We all know people who are selfish and rude but have managed to build families and successful careers, and we think, “I’m a better person than that; why can’t I have that life?” Believe it or not, there’s a condition called “Why Me Syndrome” that’s common among people with substance use disorder (although it can occur in anyone, such as cancer patients or people going through divorce). It’s essentially a sense of self-pity or feeling sorry for oneself, and it can hamper your recovery by preventing you from taking responsibility for your actions.
There’s no doubt that recovery is difficult. You might have problems with finances, employment, housing, relationships, or even the law, and these are all things that you’re going to have to face head-on if you ever want to move forward. No one likes being reminded of their own flaws, but it’s necessary to acknowledge them. Maybe the girlfriend that you had before your addiction hit its worst point no longer wants to be with you. It’s easy to say, “I’m getting better and working so hard; why won’t she just talk to me?” rather than remembering all the things you might have done to make her angry or not trust you. Did you constantly blow off plans or show up drunk or high? Were you having mood swings that made you argue all the time? No one is under any obligation to speak to you or even forgive you, but it’s definitely not going to happen if you can’t take responsibility for your actions, apologize, and make a real effort to change.
How do you avoid falling into this mindset? First, get some perspective. There are plenty of people out there who have it far worse than you but manage to stay positive and lead relatively happy lives. Do you have a roof over your head and enough money to eat? Do you still have family members who will be there for you if you need them? Are you healthy, or at least don’t have any debilitating or terminal illnesses? The point is not that you’re being insensitive to someone else’s troubles, just to remind yourself of what your life truly looks like in the grand scheme of things.
In some ways, recovery can be like a grieving process. Your life might never be exactly as it once was. There might be friends who don’t forgive you, or you might have to find a new job. Just remember, you have come a long way, but that doesn’t make you entitled to anything. What it does mean is that you have this chance to make a new, better life. You just have to let go of your regrets.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.