Addiction Recovery Requires Constant Self-Evaluation

Addiction is death. I don’t just mean physical death. I mean emotional, mental and spiritual death as well. Addiction has the ability to destroy lives – and I should know. I have seen first-hand how addiction has destroyed relationships, leaving individuals broken and beaten down. I have this experience.

My addiction caused me to act and behave in ways that to this day amaze me. I stole, cheated, and lied - all in the name of getting that next high. I put myself at risk both physically as well as mentally. There was no way in hell I should have been using considering that I have a co-occurring mental health disorder. My addiction is the great deceiver, telling me, “It’s okay. Just one won’t hurt.” My addiction has all the answers, or so it thinks.

Addiction Recovery Requires Constant Monitoring

With addiction recovery, an addict always has to be on top of things.Even now, with 24 years clean, my addiction likes to play with my head. It comes in the form of its companions, obsession and compulsion. I still have to wrestle with these two adversaries. Just ask my wife. She describes me according to the old expression, “like a dog with a bone.” Once I get a hold of an idea, I do not let go. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing. But when the obsession/compulsion begins to affect my life in an adverse manner, then I need to put myself in check.

When I think about how addiction has affected my life, I quickly realize that no matter how long I have been clean, there are certain things I need to do to maintain my addiction recovery. 12-Step meetings, prayer, and regularly connecting with my support system are all things I do to keep the “sleeping tiger” at bay. I have also learned about my limitations – those things I know that I am incapable of doing safely. I can no longer put myself in risky situations that test my recovery. I know what I can and cannot do. This is where intuition comes in handy. If a situation doesn’t feel “right,’ then I know to try and get out ASAP.

By acknowledging my addiction and asking for help, I have taken the first step to dealing with the problem. When I do so, I have broken the chains that have kept me in bondage and imprisoned my soul. True addiction recovery is a day-by-day process – one that requires constant self-evaluation. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE.

APA Reference
Shallowhorn, K. (2012, April 24). Addiction Recovery Requires Constant Self-Evaluation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

pasadena psychologist
May, 27 2012 at 8:44 pm

Thanks, Karl! The friendships that my male patients have cultivated through their 12 step affiliation put most male friendships to shame. So many of the men i treat don't know how to connect with other men-- they are incredibly limited. What really sold me on the 12-step approach to recovery was witnessing my patients flourish, thanks in part, to the quality friends that are in their lives through their meetings. I wish there was more support like this for non-addict communities.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 28 2012 at 11:16 am

There's a certain degree of honesty and openess in these relationships which is brought about by insight discovered by the working of the Steps.

Pasadena psychologists
May, 26 2012 at 8:36 pm

Welcome, Karl-- I have a healthy respect for those who battle this illness. On a daily basis i witness the amazing support that 12-step provides to those who are willing to submit. As a clinical psychologist, I treat many recovering addicts who are struggling with the personality disorders that await them, once they are no longer self-medicating. (In my 20 years of being in practice, I've never seen an addict who didn't struggle with underlying depression, anxiety and personality disorders. The addiction was just a manifestation of the deeper illness that was untreated.) In addition to the phenomenal spiritual and psychological support that 12-step provides, i am in awe of the social network that 12 step offers my patients. Above and beyond the addiction, without these deep and significant friendships, it is not possible to recover from anxiety, depression or personality disorders.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 27 2012 at 2:41 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. Recovery is not a solitary pursuit. It is strength in numbers. As the saying goes, "The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel."

April, 24 2012 at 5:48 am

Thank you so much for sharing your life and experiences. Welcome to HealthyPlace!

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