Complacency in Early Sobriety

A man think of his recovery in a white shirt with gears behind him

A famous saying heard in the rooms of recovery is that we are either moving away from a drink/drug, or we are moving towards one. In other words, getting complacent in early sobriety can be a dangerous thing. Here we take a look at the signs of complacency in early sobriety and what you can do to change them.

What exactly is complacency?

The Merriam-Webster definition of complacency is “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”. (1) Complacency is one of the major relapse signs that we must always be aware of in sobriety. The reality is, rehab and working a program does not cure us of the disease of addiction; rather, it puts it into remission. Therefore, we must continuously work on our program if we are going to achieve long-term sobriety.

What are signs of complacency in recovery?

Not attending meetings

While it is generally not a bad thing to cut down meeting attendance slightly compared to when we first came into the fellowship, it becomes dangerous if we begin to go long periods of time without meetings.

Stop seeking help

Another crucial sign of complacency is when we stop seeking help from our sponsors and/or our support groups. This is a sign that we may feel we have cured our addiction problem, and no longer need help with it.


Stop helping others

One of the major paradoxes of recovery is that we can only keep what we have (our sobriety) by giving it away. It is therefore quite dangerous when we stop helping newcomers just entering into sobriety.

Start running the show again

When we are in active addiction, we are extreme examples of self-will run riot. Acting compulsively on self-will once again can most certainly be viewed as a danger sign for us.

So how do we snap out of complacency?

The good news is that it is very simple for us to snap out of complacency. We can start by calling our sponsor/and or support group and telling on ourselves. We have nothing to be embarrassed about- most certainly every one of us will go through a period of complacency in our program at some point in our sobriety. We can then make a recommitment to hit certain meetings. Another excellent way to snap out of complacency is to ask for service work opportunities to help others in our fellowship.

Final Note

The Lodges is the premier Orange County sober living and structured living community for men and women who are either in the early stages of recovery or transitioning from primary care. We understand the need for a structured and safe environment for individuals who need the added encouragement on their journey. If you or a loved one is seeking sober living in beautiful Orange County please call us at (866)-610-4480 or visit us online.



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