Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Why Are Recovering Alcoholics So Selfish?"


     Just came across this search phrase:

     "Why are recovering alcoholics are so selfish?"

     So sad, especially given the entire program of Alcoholics Anonymous warns that untreated and unattended selfishness will kill us whether we are using or not.

     "Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles...  So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62

     Selfishness and AA is actually an oxymoron, though you wouldn't know it today. The 12 Steps and selfishness are incompatible, but sadly, mainstream AA today has little to do with showing alcoholics how to recover. The new age of easier, softer ways is infecting newcomers with a sort of watered-down breed of selfish AA, all too willing to ignore the original wisdom and magic of the removal of self. Recovering from addiction effectively and fundamentally was once about two things: God and service. And now? Admittedly, I have no idea.

     A recent commenter asserted with some confidence that recovering and recovered mean the same thing, that it's just "SEMANTICS." Lol. First, since the meaning of words is all we have to convey different ideas, the notion that they are the same thing is absurd. And this is sort of irrelevant, but semantics, as it were, is the branch of linguistics concerned with meaning (sense, reference, context, implication etc.), so the cliche' "It's just semantics" disproves the very point it's trying to make on its face. It's almost as bad as when people say, "I could care less", which means anything but the sentiment they want to convey. If you could care less about something, then you care about it. "I couldn't care less" is the proper phraseology. No offense.

     At any rate, the above search question obviously comes from some poor soul who is suffering the presence of someone 'in recovery', and it is proof the two terms are completely different. 'Recovered' individuals have a completely different attitude than the recovering man-child who still sees himself or herself as a victim and sees everything and everyone as an extension of his or her self, which sort of defines what it means to be a narcissist.

     By contrast, 'recovering' alcoholics continue to be preoccupied with themselves - their comfort, their needs, their feelings. Don't worry, I'll be the first to admit that I'm no angel myself, but I am aware of how selfish I was and I know when I'm still being selfish because I write inventory, which is also an active effort to remove the selfishness. This is crucial because selfishness is one of the most destructive forms of spiritual poison that exist. I also try to take care of my family and give most of my free time to this shit when sure I'd rather be playing golf or whining about my life in some meeting. Kidding, kidding... relax.

     Remember, what we all do is creating the world we leave behind, so forget about just being your average sheep who has yet to wake up, being an active addict or a selfish recovering alcoholic sulking around and hanging on by a thread is unacceptable. And given those who are currently in power are doing one helluva job wrecking the country and the rest of the world, the future could use as much help as possible.

19 comments:

  1. "Selfishness is one of the most destructive forms of spiritual poison that exist."

    This is a very good phrase to remember. Excellent post, thank you. The selfishness of alcoholics/addicts is indeed sickening.

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  2. Wow... you're 'recovered'? Semantically speaking, that's pretty impressive since I was under the impression that 'recovery' was a life long process!! If one's main purpose in AA is to stay sober and help another alcoholic, I hope you are kinder than this to members of the countless recovery troves!

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  3. Thank you for being so honest. My fiance' is very selfish, even though he will be celebrating 15 years of Sobriety. The sad thing is, he does not see it, but I call him out on it. Everything is always about him, his needs, wants....im just sick of it.

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  4. thank you for sharing that...

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  5. My dad and I just had a conversation about this in regards to my 50yr old brother ( who has now been sober 4yrs)...We're very glad that he's been able to achieve that, but have noticed that he's probably even more self-centered than he was when he was drinking...He's pretty much abdicated any responsibility to his children who are suffering with their own addictions...Which means he's basically passed the buck to any other family member they might go to...When my mother passed away he did very little in regards to helping settle her estate or pack up her house...He had AA meetings to attend...I understand on one level he has to stay focused on himself...To a point...But, in some ways he's just replaced the alcohol with meetings, church, and a new found love of guns and target shooting.

    My dad said while his changes are commendable in all honesty it doesn't seem to have made him a happier person...In fact just the opposite...So I guess you'd say we're happy he's found a way to quit drinking but a little sad that it seems to have taken something out of him and made him even more selfish than he already was.

    ( And we're not drinkers so it's not that we "miss" drinking with him).

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    1. wow that last paragraph describes my husband.

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  6. We all have our own path in recovery. As a drinking alcoholic I was indeed selfish. Over 20 years of sobriety I am less selfish but am a work in progress. By following the steps, helping others and passing it on I stay better. I can't speak for others. Loved ones of alcoholics have dealt with selfishness during years of their lives ... I can't say what they should do or think. I just know that I am keeping my own sidewalk clean.

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  7. Thank you for your post I searched the selfish addict and I found this and it gave me such great insight on the topic I am in recovery and I am trying to so desperately to continue on this path after so many failed attempts I now know the meaning of "pray without work is dead" thanx for your help believe it or not it certainly made me want to step back and take a closer look at me.

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  8. All I know is my brother is a alcoholic and he blames everybody else for his relapses.He is the most selfish,messed up,POS,garbage when he drinks.I'd have had enough of the bastard.He's been in rehab so many times it's like a revolving door.He says he has lost the spark when it comes to Christ and his Christianity.Do us all a favor Bro.Get well or go all the way.So you have Peace and rest and you stop hurting your family.Hell on earth is having alcoholism run in your family line. It's all F^cked up.I'm planning to move and never come back or give my phone number# or Address.It's too much 2 long of destruction and hatred.F^ck all Alcoholics to the bone marrow!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Dang! I feel the same way..

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  9. I am a recovering alcoholic. I completely agree with this article. I see many selfish sober people in meetings who have replaced alcohol with meetings. If they don't have a meeting they will relapse. Meetings are there to help us recover rather than a replacement of alcohol.

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  10. I agree with "Unknown" post of Oct 1, 2015. i have also recovered from alcoholism and see a lot selfish behavior in the meetings. i couldn't put my finger on it until i read the posts on this site. i am also a victim of a suicidal alcoholic spouse that was consumed by selfishness to the very end. Selfishness is the cause for the misery of the mind, alcoholism is just one of the symptoms. Suicide is one of the other symptoms.

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  11. I too searched selfish addict and found this. Im always trying to get him to see the utter crap his selfishness puts me through. What came first, the addict, or the selfish narc?

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  12. WOW! No matter how well a recovering addict does, getting well, working on them selves, helping other addicts, service work ...Sometimes it's just not good enough in the families eyes. They will still find any thing to bitch about some will always still blame the addict for not being just like THEY WANT us to be so who's selfish? When invited to an open AA meeting or AA Birthday o even to their new home...GO...It does not matter if your an addict or not no one likes rejection it hurts ...Sooooooo I just stopped asking

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  13. I thought a recovering alcoholic would be a better spouse/father than an non-recovering alcoholic but I was wrong. Every relapse on his road to recovery was someone or somethings fault. Never takes responsibility for his own actions. Hasn't worked in years, hasn't gotten up in the morning at the same time as the kids and I, just wants to be babied for the rest of his life. I'm sick of walking on eggshells around him. Every morning I'm apparently stressing HIM out about getting out of bed. Every time I bring up money and how I can't keep supporting us by myself I'm stressing HIM out. And if I stress him out too much he will relapse or hurt himself in another way and it will be my fault. He should have been going to therapy or meeting for years but refused and now it's just too late.

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  14. I too experienced the same with an alcoholic who is now in recovery. I had to find my way back to normalcy by divorcing him and have been in therapy for six months. Addicts are self-absorbed and frankly, I hope I never meet another one again.

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  15. Self absorbed, self involved and selfish to the core explains my recovering alcoholic brother to a tee! Twenty-five years sober and he's still not made any attempts to make amends, even after I pointed out the fact that he skipped a step or two from the 12 step program. HIS idea of making amends was to stop drinking, while conveniently forgetting about others he has harmed. I just recently had a conversation with him about this very topic, but he was extremely defensive in my attempts to reach him. What incited me into finally confronting him was the discovery that he also attends Al-Anon meetings in addition to his tri-weekly AA meetings. Of course I need to point out that neither one of our parents were alcoholics, nor any other close family member. He feeds off of attention, but sadly is devoid of any self awareness and he thrives off of being the constant victim. I need to remove myself from this dysfunctional relationship while there is still enough of me leftover. I'm out!

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  16. aint it the truth!

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