The dictionary defines complacency as “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security while unaware of some potential danger or defect.” It is a false confidence in oneself.
People who do not suffer from addiction issues can afford to be complacent in some areas of their lives but those of us in recovery must never become complacent about our sobriety. Once people have been sober for a year or two, it becomes a habit – they no longer think about it and forget they even had a problem with drugs and/or alcohol to begin with. They just don’t realize that recovery is a process, not a one-time occurrence.
Complacency can cause a person in recovery to return to unhealthy behaviours – they can become workaholics, shopaholics, exercise demons – they replace one addiction with another.
When I first got sober many years ago, I was eager and motivated to work on my recovery and was willing to put the work in to maintain it.
However, over time, I became complacent – I stopped going to twelve-step meetings and attending alumni meetings at my treatment centre. I never allowed myself time to continue to work on my recovery. My focus had changed – I thought I “had” recovery. Inevitably, I relapsed.
I learned through my own experience that changing my harmful behaviour (active addiction) was not enough – when I got sober this time I knew I had to do more. Today, I am committed to my sobriety and continue to do the “do” things.
Those of us in recovery must remind ourselves daily that we cannot become complacent – we must continue the activities that have been helping to keep us sober.