“If we try to fix the world before fixing ourselves, we’ll do both badly.”—Steve Arterburn
When you were in the throes of addiction, was getting your next quick-fix more important than anything else—family, career, and even God? After all, your addiction came first no matter how much pain it caused you and your loved ones.
Now that you realize the damage your addiction has caused, you may think it’s your job to fix everyone and everything. But you can’t; you can only fix yourself. Therefore, your main goal is to get healthy and stay sober. In other words, to recover successfully, you must be selfish.
Here are five reasons that explain why recovery is selfish:
Reason #1: Recovery Must Be a Priority
If you want to experience freedom from addiction, you must take care of yourself and put your recovery above everything else. Prioritize:
Reason #2: Recovery is Your Responsibility
Only one person is responsible for your recovery— you! Taking responsibility for your recovery is a daily commitment, sometimes it’s minute by minute. You are developing strength and endurance as you take your recovery seriously.
Reason #3: Recovery Involves Saying No
Your recovery depends on your ability to change how you live. Therefore, you’ll need to say no to any people and places that might tempt you from turning back to addiction or an unhealthy habit. When a friend or coworker asks you to do something, ask yourself, “Will this help my recovery?” If the answer is no, then you’ll need to tell them “no.” At first, this won’t be easy. But the more you say no to the bad, the easier it will be for you to say yes to the good.
Reason #4: Recovery Takes Self-Discovery
Now is the time to deal with the underlying issues that led you to addiction. Working through recovery needs to be a time of introspection, reflection, and examination. Stop running from your emotional pain and difficult past; instead, face your issues and learn how to deal with them in healthy ways. Make time for meetings and to meet with a counselor weekly.
Reason #5: Recovery Means Putting Yourself First
When you turned to addiction, you were selfish in a way that negatively affected others. But recovery means that you are a positive kind of selfish: You are removing from your life what harms and adding what heals. Never underestimate the value of replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones where you put yourself first.
When it comes to recovery, you can be selfish—but in a good way. This kind of selfishness is not self-centered; on the contrary, it is self-care.
Even the Bible teaches the importance of caring for yourself. One day a religious leader went to Jesus and asked Him what the most important commandment of Moses was to follow. Jesus replied:
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Matthew 22:37-38
When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re loving God and loving others at the same time. Living your life one day at a time, focused on your recovery, is the most loving thing you can do for God, others and yourself!