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Complacency/Self Sabotage

What is complacency?

Complacency sounds like this, “now that everything is better I can stop doing the things that made my life better in the first place”.
Like a person that suffers from depression, once they start taking anti-depressants they start feeling better. The depression lifts and they start thinking, well I’m not depressed anymore so do I still need to take these pills every day?
What makes no sense is it’s the pills that are helping lift the depression so why would you stop?
The same can be said for early recovery. There are certain key routines and structures in place that assist with recovery, including continued therapy with a counsellor, and engaging in new activities.

Emotions during addiction recovery

Happy, sad, grumpy, excited, nervous, giddy – these are all things we feel at one time or another and none of them are forever.  Despite the fact that emotions are transitory, we have this sense that they are permanent conditions and we end up spending a lot of time in variations on a negative, either:

  • Feeling like we are stuck and that we won’t be able to ever get out of what we are currently feeling.
  • Being upset because we can’t make a positive emotion last forever.

The first becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the second is about accepting what is, being fully present in the moment and just being able to do that can help us feel a lot happier more often.

So, what can you do to address your emotional state in addiction recovery? What can you control? And how do you start to feel better? We review here, then we invite your questions about emotional issues in recovery at the end.

Cocaine Use: The Side Effects

The Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine has very serious effects, but not just on the person using the drug, the damages inevitably reach all the people close to user such as family, friends and employers. Three key aspects of cocaine consequences are:

  1. How the drug-use damages relationships with loved ones
  2. How the drug use eats its way into the economic security of family and business
  3. The inevitability of a dependency and the need for treatment.

These are just three side effects of cocaine use, but the devastation always stretches further and deeper that those listed.


Coming out of an addiction and into a new normal happens in phases. We do not simply put the chemicals down and then find ourselves as a central figure in our perception of what normal really looks like.

We come out of the fog of war and into a therapeutic environment, but at that point we are not in recovery, we are in treatment. Recovery can only start to develop as and when we leave treatment and we start to play our part on planet earth, on life’s terms, where everyone around us can start to relax around us, without substances to support of comfort us. Too many people want what they believe to be normal from the moment they put the chemicals down and this desire for immediate gratification via the path of least resistance, usually manifests itself in some very damaging behaviours:

Enabling is not helping !

How many of us have asked ourselves: “If I stopped helping my addicted loved one, what would happen to them? Would they fall apart, would they starve or, even worse, overdose?”  

If you question whether your help is really hurting an addict, this article may help you understand more regarding enabling and addiction. We review enabling behaviors and how to end them here. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.

Identify Signs of Codependency

Questionnaire to Identify Signs of Codependency

This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of codependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from codependency.

1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?
19. Do you have trouble asking for help?
20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?

If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help. Arrange for a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or psychologist experienced in treating co-dependency.

Next Steps

If you are struggling with an Addiction or know someone who is. Please feel free to contact us and we can help you with your next steps.

Cherrywood House is a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from substance and other addictive disorders. It is situated in the tranquil, semi-rural environments of Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa. We offer  Residential Programmes, Aftercare Support Services, Outpatient Programme, Family Support Groups. For more information. Visit our Website Here.

Addiction: The Social Disease

Addiction as a social disease

Stanton and Archie Brodsky wrote this piece in 1976 for the Addiction Research Foundation publication (now defunct), Addictions, which was subsequently reprinted by the recovery publishing house, Hazelden! Building on their approach in Love and Addiction, Stanton and Archie analyze how addiction, rather than being an aberration, grows from the well-springs of modern existence. Their views are in many ways prophetic of developments in the quarter century since. Consider that Freda Martin, an adviser to the Invest in Kids Foundation, said about a parenting survey in Canada in March of this year, “Never in the history of civilization have we had so much scientific information about how a child’s brain develops. And never have our young people been so isolated from their families, so bereft of practical experience and practical wisdom.”

Addictions (Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario), Winter 1976, pp. 2-21; reprinted as Hazelden pamphlet, Center City, MN, 1977 © Stanton Peele & Archie Brodsky, all rights reserved

Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky

A Look at Cross Addiction

Waking from a fitful sleep, Sandra couldn’t believe her eyes – or her head, for that matter. She had a pounding headache and felt nauseated, but that wasn’t the worst of it. As her blurred vision began to clear, she slowly started to realize where she was. The setting was familiar, but it wasn’t her bedroom. It was the country detox centre.

Feelings of anger, depression, and self-disgust flooded her. Not again, she thought. I swore to my husband and kids six months ago that I’d never drink again. How could this have happened?

Why do people relapse? Why do people like Sandra who seem so sincere in their commitment to recovery go back to drinking and using? While the reasons people relapse are not always clear, one reason frequently stands out: they didn’t understand cross-addiction.

This article’s purpose is to help the reader understand cross-addiction in order to attain balance in recovery and avoid a possible relapse.

Dealing with Addiction for Families


Three years ago, when Rachel* got her freshman dorm assignment in the mail, the New Jersey teen excitedly logged on to Facebook to look up her new college roommate, Eleanor*. “She definitely seemed like that perfect, blonde, athletic, popular girl,” says Rachel, now 20.

But just a few weeks into their first semester, Eleanor, who had been recruited for the school’s soccer team, quit the sport when practice sessions interfered with her ability to party. Still, Rachel says she didn’t think Eleanor had a serious problem until the start of their sophomore year. “She’d go out a lot and get way more drunk than anyone else,” Rachel recalls. It also became difficult to be her roommate. “If we all went out, I’d go back to my room and go to sleep, and then she’d come in hours later with a guy — or just drunk and angry.” Rachel and her friends tried to talk to Eleanor several times about her drinking, but they couldn’t get through to her. Rachel says they didn’t know what to do.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million people ages 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 — and that counts only those who sought professional help. Far more struggle with addiction issues in private. “Addiction is so common that, unfortunately, you could say it’s normal,” says psychologist and substance abuse specialist Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D. “More kids are dealing with it in their lives than not.” And while chemical dependency takes an obvious toll on those struggling with it, it also affects everyone around them. Indeed, when you’re close to someone — be it a friend, significant other, or family member — who’s regularly drunk or high, it can be difficult to know how to deal.

Is Instant Addiction Real ?

Is it possible for someone to become instantly addicted to a drug?

Most people might say no. First individuals must try a drug and realize that they like it. Then they might start to use the drug more frequently. Eventually, once they have used the drug enough, their brain begins to lose the ability to function without it. They spend all night dreaming about their next fix. They miss work. They miss birthdays. They miss appointments. There are no consequences that seem to outweigh getting high. This is addiction.

But what if individuals skip a few steps? What if they try the drug once and know immediately they are hooked, and that the urge to use again and again will likely never leave?

Instant or “born” addicts are people who claim they were hooked on a drug after using it for the first time. For these “instant addicts,” the first exposure to a drug is defined as a transformative experience. David Carr, a recently deceased writer for The New York Times (and a recovering drug addict), described the first time he tried cocaine as a “Helen Keller hand-under-the-water moment.” People who suffer from an instant addiction often describe the drug as filling a hole inside their mind that they didn’t even know was there in the first place.

As it turns out, the “hole-inside-their-mind” metaphor is surprisingly accurate.