Addicts and the Art of Self-Sabotage

If someone you care about is struggling with substance misuse issues, you may feel as if they have become a stranger to you. As their addiction deepens, they may become withdrawn or secretive and lose interest in formerly enjoyable activities. During an active addiction, people turn to drugs or alcohol to escape from the stresses and tension of everyday life, which eventually causes severe consequences. 

You may have seen your loved one engage in self-destructive behaviors and wondered why they allow themselves to get caught up in this cycle time and again. How could they keep engaging in activities that hurt themselves and everyone around them? Is their addiction more important to them than their relationship with you? Are they willing to lose everything to drugs or alcohol?

A Pattern of Self-Sabotage

Some addicts damage their lives to a point that they sacrifice their marriage, children, career, livelihood and financial future. If you have never struggled with substance misuse problems, you may have trouble putting yourself in your loved one’s shoes and understanding how anyone could continue going down a road that will deliberately destroy everything that is near and dear to them.

Sadly, many people who fall into a pattern of addictive behavior feel they don’t deserve to be happy. They self-sabotage because, in their minds, they have “earned” the negative consequences of their addiction like loneliness, unhappiness, unemployment or bankruptcy. To compound the issue, this mindset can follow them all the way through treatment into recovery. 

Addiction Recovery and What Comes After

Often, even after you successfully persuade them to seek help, recovering addicts might find it challenging to shake old ways of doing things. Feeling healthy and in control can be entirely alien to someone who lived with an active addiction for many years. They’ve relied on one way of coping with life’s challenges for so long that it’s tremendously difficult for them to maintain a clean, sober lifestyle and stay off a self-destructive path.

No matter how much sobriety can improve an addicted person’s life, they might have trouble believing they deserve the progress they’ve made, and that they’ve earned the right to be healthy and free of the many problems associated with prolonged substance misuse. The struggles they have living up to the expectations of others can be at the root of their psychological pattern of self-sabotage

In many cases, the fuel that powered active addiction is the same fuel that jumpstarts a relapse. Instead of responding normally to life’s ups and downs, their tiny, self-sabotaging voice begins to whisper the same old refrain: Maybe I don’t deserve to be this happy. I’m not worthwhile. 

Supporting a Loved One in Recovery

An addict’s ability to self-sabotage has roots in negative thinking patterns. Since relapse is often a manifestation of this same mindset, supporting a loved one in recovery involves recognizing when they are starting to succumb to negative self-talk and helping them realize that they are worthy of success, fulfillment and love.

If you are looking for ways to help someone you care about who is struggling with the burden of addiction, contact our team of professional interventionists today. There’s no better time to reach a spouse, family member or friend and get them on the road to recovery.