Reducing Ego and Self-Centeredness in Recovery

A powerful sense of ego can be one of the worst obstacles on your recovery journey. It can make you see things differently and damage your sense of reality.

“Recovery isn’t about stopping drinking (or stopping whatever). It’s about investigating the ways of the ego and trying to change on the basis of that knowledge,” wrote Alan Budge in his 2013 book For God’s Sake. “It’s about surrender. For me, the whole spiritual deal is based on the idea that I’m not in charge, there is something bigger: God, the universe, whatever. The important thing is not to think or act as though I’m the final authority, that my best interests are the highest good.”

A great conduit to giving up the notion of being in charge is connecting with nature. “Sometimes, I ask clients to sit in a circle outside, put their hands on the ground, and feel how they are connected,” says Harmony’s spiritual advisor, Bill Myers. “You’re humbled by nature, and it’s true humility through connection, rather than separateness through humiliation. Most people with addiction have plenty of experience with humiliation but not true humility. It is a release of the ego that is not a diminishment, not an absence but a connection to something.”

Together with his clients, Myers—a poet and tireless explorer of the spirit—likes to investigate how we are connected to lives and powers beyond ourselves. “It helps us understand our rightful place in the world,” he says. “Instead of thinking ‘I’m in charge of my life, and I’m charging ahead doing all these things’ we get to see how we are connected.”

Rather than convincing clients intellectually that they have to reduce their ego and get away from self-centeredness, however, Myers likes to approach the issue from the spiritual side and emphasize how we are connected to the rest of life.

In recovery in particular, “ego is not your amigo,” as Harmony’s alumni director Michael Arnold likes to say. In episode 31 of her “Monday State of Mind” podcast, Michael discussed why your feelings and your ego are not your friends and how they can keep you from listening to your Higher Power.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, or you have questions about our programs, call us today at 970.432.8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are a Colorado drug rehab with a compassionate and expert staff that is in-network with most insurances.