Today we will be looking at what pride can mean when it comes to substance abuse and recovery. People become addicted to mind-altering substances for numerous reasons. For some, addiction is an illness that runs in the family; they become addicts basically after picking up the habits of parents, siblings, spouses or other loved ones. There are also environmental factors that can result in addiction, which can include living in a place where mind-altering substances are extremely accessible or being in a peer group that consists of other substance abusers. As well, there are more internal, individual reasons why a person might turn to substance abuse, which is what we’re going to be addressing today.
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Addiction and Recovery
Despite the widely-accepted disease model of addiction, there’s an ongoing debate as to whether addiction is actually a disease or whether it’s a behavior issue. In other words, many have doubts as to whether addiction represents an involuntary compulsion or whether it’s a person’s conscious behavioral decision. For many, many years, the consensus was that addiction was a behavioral or even a moral problem, but the most recent evidence paints a portrait of addiction as a chronic, incurable, and progressive brain disease. However, the fact remains that if a person didn’t choose to begin experimenting with alcohol or drug abuse, it would be physically impossible to develop the disease of addiction. Therefore, there’s a strong behavioral component to the development of addiction that makes it very important for us to understand the attitudes and beliefs of the individual who’s suffering from addiction.
But where exactly does pride fit into this equation? What are the specific effects that pride can have one’s recovery or even one’s potential to develop an alcohol or drug addiction? Let’s find out.
Pride and Recovery
Most people, even those who aren’t particularly religious, associate the concept of pride with religion. As you likely recall, pride is one of the infamous seven deadly sins and is often considered to be the worst of the sins, meaning that the repercussions of pride have the potential to be the most significant. For this reason, the definition of pride is largely based on the biblical conception of the term, which states that pride is “the desire to lift ourselves up beyond our actual place” and beyond the place of others. In most cases, pride is associated with the feeling one gets that makes the individual believe he or she is better or deserves better than others. There’s an inherent sense of superiority with pride, and the idea behind pride being the worst of the deadly sins is that it skews one’s judgment, causing a person to behave in ways that could be destructive for him or herself or for others. As well, individuals who are experiencing pride — as least the pride that’s described here — become willing to sacrifice others for their own gain since they often feel that they’re deserving of it. In other words, the behaviors of the proud most often harm others to serve their own needs.
Pride and Egotism in Recovery
Having defined pride and provided its biblical context, let’s now take a look at a concept called egotism. As most of us are aware, one’s ego is essentially a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-importance. According to the field of psychology, the ego mediates between a person’s conscious and unconscious selves; in effect, the ego has to determine what’s real and what isn’t real while establishing one’s sense of self, agency, and identity. While this might sound like an essential part of one’s identity — and to a large degree that’s true — the ego can become inflated and result in a behavioral phenomenon known as egotism.
When a person is an egotist, he or she is essentially driven by the desire to establish and maintain a sense of self-importance. This individual is always seeking to create a strong, positive self-image that feeds into his or her sense of pride. As a result, egotists almost always have an overinflated sense of self-important and an excessive self-regard. Because these individuals are so concerned about their image and, essentially, their reputations, much of their behaviors are intended to socially and culturally elevate themselves over the people around them; in short, this sense of egotism directly feeds into their pride. In turn, this enhanced sense of pride bolsters and motivates their egotism, turning this combination in a deadly and vicious circle.
The Effects of Pride in Addiction and Recovery
Let’s reflect, again, on the reasons why people might turn to alcohol or drug abuse. Specifically, let’s look at some of the social and environmental reasons. As we mentioned above, one of the chief reasons why people turn to alcohol or drug abuse is because of their peer groups; being in peer groups with substance abusers makes an individual exceedingly likely to become substance abusers themselves. Oftentimes, we think of this as being an example of peer pressure, but there’s another way that this can happen; in short, this situation can lead to addiction due to an individual consciously choosing to use alcohol or drug abuse as a means of elevating his or her reputation within his or her social circle. In such cases, the individual in question is associating substance abuse with popularity and notoriety within the social circle, so the idea is that becoming a substance abuser will inflate his or her sense of pride.
Unfortunately, this often turns individuals with a strong sense of pride into addicts. On the other hand, pride and egotism can be detrimental to one’s recovery as well. In most cases, those who are extremely proud in recovery may reach a point of complacency; after a brief period of success in recovery, they begin to feel as though they no longer need to participate in addiction treatment or in twelve-step meetings, causing them to let their guards down. This puts them at an elevated risk of relapse if they’re confronted by temptation or a relapse trigger.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself suffering in addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery as well as teach relapse prevention including learning healthy outlets in sobriety . Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.