THE ROOT TO OUR PROBLEM IS SELFISHNESS - this statement here sums things up perfectly, if only my recovering family member could see this. We have just endured watching and living through 8 years of his selfish meth addiction hell and now in his recovery he has decided to have a selfish affair with a married woman (replace one addiction with another) he is running around like a god dam teenager again & is in the process of stealing another mans family, for his own selfish benefit. When confronted about his behavior, he tells us "He doesn't give a shit about the little kid or this ladies husband - Its good for him, what he wants, what he needs for his new life, so he'll take it!!! He can't understand why his family can barely look at him, the drug use has stopped but the selfishness is still running wild. His affair partner is now pregnant and has filed for divorce (much to his manipulating delight) he has succeed in breaking up a family. My question to you Charlie is "can his new life succeed when its based on so much selfishness? Or will his selfishness eventually destroy him?? After watching 8 years of selfish drug addiction and now another three years of selfish affair addiction, I am at the point of cutting him out of our lives forever and he can't understand why! "I'm clean, why do you want me out of your life now he says" - Its simple "his selfishness disgusts me" & I have lost all respect for him as a person because of it.
Yes, one can certainly achieve 'physical' sobriety and be destroyed by his or her selfishness, and in fact, it happens frequently. Getting sober and hitting a few meetings amounts to nothing and is perhaps less than 1% of the work required to recover from the spiritual malady of addiction. Selfishness is a primary form of spiritual poison and one that can take someone down as quickly as drugs and alcohol themselves. The conduct which you describe is certainly as destructive and vile as meth use, if not more, as it harms so many others and creates vicious karmic triangles.
I've written before that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow. If we fail to change and grow along moral and spiritual lines, we have no chance to recover, to right our wrongs, and to become worthy once again. Believe me, I'm no example of this, but it is the truth.
We can simply refer to the Big Book for answers...
"Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62
Or the Bible...
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice." James 3:16
"But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury." Romans 2:8
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4
"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" 2 Timothy 3:2-4
Also see, Don't Ever Give Up, and the posts linked at the bottom of that post.