Get Rid of Self-Seeking Behavior
After months and years of active addiction, we tend to put ourselves and our ties to drugs and/or alcohol above everything else. Friends and family members are caught in the chaos that we become while trying to pursue the next drink or drug. Once sober, we start to realize what we were doing, and begin to clear away some of the wreckage. The problem is that many people still struggle with their relationships with their loved ones in early recovery, and they can’t figure out why. At the root of all this is something many people don’t consider – self-seeking behavior.
What is Self-Seeking?
Most people are familiar with what it means to be selfish and self-centered, but recovery teaches us about self-seeking as well. This type of behavior is often just as cunning as the disease of addiction itself. Self-seeking is when we’re doing something in order to receive something in return. When we look at this, our ego tries to protect us and tell us that this can’t be true. The ego makes us believe that we’re kind, loving people who are constantly doing selfless acts for others, but is that really what’s going on?
Self-Seeking in Action
In 12-step programs, one of the most important steps is the fourth step, and this is where we list all of our resentments. This step is all about our personal perception of various situations and looking at who we feel wronged us. During our fourth step, we’re forced to look at ourselves and what role we played in each of these situations. Not only do we find that our expectations were often unrealistic, but we start to see that our motives weren’t exactly pure.
Reciprocity is one of the ways that human civilizations thrived and brought our species to the top of the food chain, but in modern times, reciprocity can lead to us becoming resentful. Without realizing it, we’re keeping score of all our good deeds and what others do for us in return. It’s a common scenario that addicts in recovery will do favors, chores, and other helpful acts for their loved ones and then later ask for that kindness to be returned. This can lead to trouble.
For example, maybe you’re fresh out of treatment and go back home to live with your family. You learned about being of service to others, so you clean the house, walk the dog, and run errands for your parents. At some point, you may be low on money and need to borrow some, but your family tells you no, and this is when you get angry. You get into an argument and remind them of all of the nice things you’ve done for them, and you feel justified because you were being so selfless.
This is where you must pause and recognize that you weren’t doing those things out of the kindness of your heart; you were doing those things in an act of self-seeking because you were eventually expecting something in return.
Seeking Feelings and Emotions
Self-seeking doesn’t always involve something tangible that we want in return. Often times, we’re seeking a feeling or emotion. This is common for people who struggle with the disease of addiction because so many of us struggle with self-love and self-worth. This type of self-seeking can ruin relationships with not only your family and friends, but it can also harm the relationship with your significant other. If you’re only doing kind things to earn validation, recognition, or love in return, this can be a recipe for more resentments.
The best solution to get rid of self-seeking behaviors is to start to recognize them more frequently. When you get upset with someone, ask yourself if it started with self-seeking. What’s even more productive is pausing to check your motives before you do anything and asking yourself, “What’s my motive behind this action?” If you’re not expecting anything in return, you’re on the right track.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, allow Enlightened Solutions to help. Give us a call today at 833-233-7336.