Recovering from addiction is undoubtedly challenging. It requires willingness, discipline, support, and courage. For many people, these traits seem entirely abstract and foreign. After all, they may have spent years lying, cheating, and manipulating others to get what they want.
Having an inflated ego in recovery can compromise even the most rock-solid treatment. That’s because ego impacts self-perception, motivation, and relationships with others. Let’s get into what you need to know.
What Is Ego?
In its simplest form, your ego refers to “who you believe you are.” It’s a false sense of self, most of which is entirely unconscious. The ego holds many functions- control, judgment, tolerance, processing, and memory. We all have egos, but an inflated ego can be particularly concerning in addiction recovery.
Sometimes, when people have an inflated ego, they present as self-centered and narcissistic. They believe the world should revolve around them. Often, they place their needs above the needs of others.
In other instances, guarded and unassuming people may have inflated egos. They avoid letting people come too close because they fear that others will see who they truly are. This tendency extends beyond basic self-preservation. Inflated ego distorts a person’s ability to recognize the truth in themselves or in others.
Most people with inflated egos tend to react intensely and take things very personally. Because others might view them as selfish or withdrawn, they often struggle with intimate relationships.
How Ego Can Harm Recovery
People with overinflated egos struggle to acknowledge flaws or vulnerabilities- both to themselves and to other people. As a result, they tend to deny problematic behaviors. They feel uncomfortable asking for peer support or connecting with others.
Secrecy and Deceit
Most people know that addiction and lying can go hand-in-hand. Chronic lying often emerges from a deep place of shame. The person doesn’t like the behavior, and they don’t want others to see it. Ego serves to protect that shame, to conceal it from the rest of the world.
For example, if someone with an inflated ego is struggling with cravings, they might not disclose it to anyone. They don’t want people looking down on them. They don’t want to feel inferior or pitied. They also don’t want people jumping in trying to help- all the attention can feel unnerving. Instead, they isolate themselves with their own feelings.
Complacency and Stagnation
At times, people with overinflated egos can become overly complacent in their recoveries. If they have been in recovery for a while, they may develop false confidence in their capabilities.
Sometimes, they misjudge their ability to manage challenging situations. They may assume that they’ll never relapse, so they don’t put in the work into creating an effective relapse prevention plan. This complacency can quickly become dangerous. If they aren’t taking care of themselves and their recovery, they are more prone to relapse.
Inflated egos can result in reckless and careless behavior. People might be overly optimistic about their capabilities. As a result, they’re more likely to engage in taking risks.
These risks can potentially result in a relapse. Moreover, having this mindset can also maintain a dangerous pattern of chronic relapse.
How Can You Work Through Your Ego Problems?
It is absolutely possible to work on your ego, but it requires dedication and discipline. Humility and modesty help counteract ego. The more you can integrate these two principles into your life, the less problematic your ego will be.
Insight is an essential component of any successful recovery. Start by identifying when your ego emerges. Do you notice it more with certain people? How does it impact your mood or behavior?
Changing Your Thinking
Mindset is everything when it comes to working through ego. Instead of thinking about how a situation influences you, shift into focusing on how it also affects others. Have the willingness to integrate a more humble and modest mindset. Instead of focusing your attention on what you stand to gain (or lose), try to focus on your insight can help others as well.
Engaging In Acts of Service
Generosity and altruism allow you to focus on giving to someone else, rather than yourself. This mindset makes the world a better place, and it also helps reduce your ego. Acts of service don’t need to be complicated to be effective. Practice moving into the mindset of how you can make someone else’s day a little brighter or easier.
Coping With Ego In Recovery
At The Resurface Group, we fully understand all the potential barriers that can impact recovery. We recognize the need to work on each of these issues. Managing your ego in recovery increases your chances of success. It also makes your journey far more pleasant and fulfilling.
Are you interested in learning more about how we can help you reach your goals? Contact us today to learn more!