What’s So Bad About Selfishness?

Recovery from addiction is about more than just abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It is a process of achieving and maintaining sobriety, as well as growing and developing both personally and spiritually. Selfishness and self-centeredness can be major stumbling blocks on our journey of recovery. We should do our best to shift our behavior from selfish to altruistic at every opportunity and turn our attention to helping others. If we do, we are in much less danger of cultivating destructive negative emotions like anger and resentment that could become risks to our sobriety.
The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to as the “Big Book”, explains, “Selfishness– self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusions, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.” The disease of addiction causes us to act selfishly. The next drink or drug becomes the sole driving force in our lives and we put that need before everything else. Rarely do we stop to consider whom we may have harmed in our unrelenting drive for intoxication. Sobriety gives us the opportunity to finally right these wrongs and begin acting selflessly toward our fellow.
When we are acting in a manner that is selfish and ego-driven we are bound to hurt other people. We may think that we will only get what we want out of life by acting solely in our own interest, but recent research has found that the opposite may be true. Scott Barry Kaufman, in a 2018 Scientific American article entitled The Pressing Need for Everyone to Quiet Their Egos, suggests that we may be better off by quieting our ego. Kaufman explains, “The quiet ego approach focuses on balancing the interests of the self and others, and cultivating growth of the self and others over time based on self-awareness, interdependent identity, and compassionate experience.” Rather than incessantly trying to selfishly control others’ opinions of use, we can quiet our egos and see the larger picture of our lives.
By letting go of our selfishness and ego, we are able to maintain a detached awareness of situations and no longer be at the whim of our emotions. Kaufman explains, “This requires openness and acceptance to whatever one might discover about the self or others in the present moment, and letting the moment unfold as naturally as possibly.” Rather than selfish attempts to assert control, we accept the reality of the person, place, thing, or situation that we find ourselves in. Through this shift in perspective and reaction, our journey of recovery will become one of serenity and peace of mind, and we will be in much less danger of resentment, anger, frustration, and worry.

Your story can become one of serenity and altruism in sobriety. You can embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery and begin building a brighter future by seeking help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed Substance Abuse Disorder and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center in the heart of Laguna Beach, was founded with the goal of providing the best care and service possible, at an affordable price, and in a location where men and women would want to get well. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777