Setting Healthy Expectations

Men and women suffering from the disease of addiction tend to have issues surrounding unrealistic expectations. The problem stems from an inherent need for control. Just as we attempted to assert control over every facet of our lives and ourselves, we can become easily discouraged when our expectations are not met.
In recovery, we do our best to focus on acceptance of both good and bad situations. When we set unrealistic or high expectations for others, we are often setting ourselves up for disappointment. The conflict between what we want to happen and what actually does happen can cause us to fall victim to feelings of discouragement and frustration. John A. Johnson, in a 2018 Psychology Today article entitled The Psychology of Expectations, explains, “Yet many of us at some point have mistakenly believed that expecting other people to behave the way we want will actually make them behave that way. One member of a couple might expect the other to make coffee. This is fine and good if the other person is happy to do so. But what happens if the other person has no interest in living up to that expectation? We feel shocked, morally indignant, and resentful. Expectations are premeditated resentments.” Resentments in any form can become major risks to our sobriety.
Setting expectations for others will often lead to disappointment and place a stumbling block on our path to spiritual growth in recovery. Instead, we can turn our focus toward accepting whatever happens, good or bad. In a personal story in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a member states, “When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, or thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms. I cannot be happy.” What is going to happen will happen despite our expectations. We cannot control the way others behave, but we can control the ways that we react to that behaviors. Through acceptance, we can safeguard our sobriety by maintaining our state of serenity.

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mine in sobriety. You can begin building a brighter future by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients address all underlying causes of addiction to begin working toward healing. For information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777