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THE REAL ALCOHOLIC PROBLEM – SELFISHNESS

“Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 62

As addicts and alcoholics, we learn that drugs and alcohol were but a symptom of a much greater problem.  In fact, for a time, alcohol and drugs helped us deal with the real problem from which we suffer. That problem is selfishness, driven by fear. Any of our senior sober living residents can readily admit this truth, but it is quite a difficult pill to swallow for most in early sobriety. When we discuss selfishness and self-centeredness in the context of sobriety, we don’t necessarily mean that we think addicts never consider the interests of other people. We are referring to selfishness in relationship to how often the addict/alcoholic thinks of oneself. The burden of constant self-absorption is driven most often by an internal over-sensitivity to fear that seems virtually universal among addicts. For many addicts, the fear of not getting something they want or the fear of losing something that they have, can be a driving force that manifests in their lives constantly. For this reason our sober living residents are provided opportunities to begin overcoming fear and selfishness as our program of recovery unfolds.  It is through helping others, diligently working the program and growing spiritually, that addicts and alcoholics can be freed from this bondage of self.

As we become less fearful and subsequently less selfish, we truly begin to reap the rewards of sobriety. Maybe the most obvious benefit to those entering a sober living environment is the opportunity to “plug in” and get connected to a recovery program after completing residential treatment at an inpatient facility.  At Shoreline Sober Living San Diego, one of our priorities is to help each of our sober residents create a sustainable sober network.  This includes building and maintaining a strong relationship with their sponsor and working the twelve steps thoroughly.  We also facilitate friendships in recovery not only with other members in the house, but in meetings and sober events in the San Diego and Southern California areas. Our residents have the opportunity to attend sober conferences and sober dances in addition to our own sober living events such as paintball, bowling and snowboarding.

We believe that sober events and activities are extremely important for allowing our residents to reintegrate socially, while in a safe environment. Many of our sober housemates will tell you that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative event or feeling that triggers relapse thoughts. The important thing to note is that in the “untreated alcoholic mind” relapse thoughts will practically always eventually lead to relapse. However, with a diligent program of action that includes honesty and self-searching in addition to embracing a community and new way of living, these thoughts need never lead down the deadly road to another drink or drug.

Mike Gallagher

Shoreline Sober Living House Manager