There is an old saying in recovery circles when you ask someone what their drug of choice is. The joke is that they don’t answer “alcohol” or “cocaine” or anything like that, they simply answer “more.”
My drug of choice is “more,” they say.
It might be a joke but it also offers a clue into the nature of addiction. We all wanted more. That was the point – that was the obsession that drove us to use to excess in active addiction. If one felt good then 2 would feel even better. Why stop at one? Let’s try more. We’re addicts. That’s what we do.
Then of course tolerance started building up as we used drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, and of course we had to use more just to get the same effect that we got before. Thus began our spiral into addiction. Always chasing more.
A leftover mindset from addiction
Guess what happens when we get clean and sober? We still want more.
Because that was always our answer before, and because that “worked” for us for so long, we might still have a tendency to seek “more” in recovery. More food. More stuff. More of whatever we think is making us happy these days.
The mindset of “more” might be left over from addiction and it can influence our recovery. This is not necessarily a good thing though.
You would think that “more” recovery would be good, right?
Wrong. Recovery is about balance.
Gratitude thrives on simplicity.
Spiritual peace doesn’t come through a life of clutter and chaos. So “more” is not the answer in recovery. In a lot of cases, we need to reduce, eliminate, and simplify. We need to cut waste and eliminate bad habits.
Cases in recovery where less is more
Consider looking for the whole “less is more” philosophy in the following areas:
1) Gratitude – be grateful for what you have. Think simple. Your health, your sobriety, your existence. Learn to appreciate these things. Don’t try to be grateful for more stuff. Instead, focus on gratitude for existence itself. This is powerful because you can lose your good health and you could also lose your sobriety. Learn to be grateful for less.
2) Your stuff – less stuff in your life means less headaches. Consider eliminating the clutter and keeping only the essential things in your life. This goes for both physical stuff and also for services you might pay for (such as cable television, for example).
When you eliminate a bunch of stuff then it frees up your time and energy to focus on what is really important to you.
3) Recovery networking – we might automatically assume that more networking with others in recovery is always a good thing but I’ve seen so much evidence in my life that this is not the case.
Reduce your dependency on others in recovery and learn to sustain your own sobriety as you move forward. Some networking is still good with other recovering addicts but it should not become the foundation for your sobriety. Focus on the important contacts and do what you can to help them.
As recovering addicts, we have a strong tendency to think “more” is always better, but consider the power of simplification and reducing clutter and chaos in your life. You have “enough” in your life and probably have too much of most things – reducing some of this can allow you to focus on the important stuff.