How Your Ego Drives Substance Abuse - Garden State Treatment

Those that recover from addiction know that it is not an easy feat to accomplish. People who are not addicts don’t understand why it is so hard to not become addicted. For those people, not picking up a drink or a drug may seem easy and uncomplicated.

There is one major factor that can contribute to addiction, and that’s your ego. For some people, their ego makes it very difficult to achieve lasting recovery. This can be hard to make sense of because many addicts have low self-esteem and self-worth issues, but the ego is completely different.

How Your Ego Drives Substance Abuse

How Do You Define an Ego?

Ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Notice the word “sense”. It is not the real ‘you’. Rather, your ego is what you believe you are. When an addict has an inflated ego, they think that the world revolves around them and they are better than everybody else. They believe in the idea that whatever happens, whether good or bad, it has to do with them in one way or another.

How Does the Ego Lead to Substance Abuse

When an addict has an inflated sense of ego, it can be one of the hardest obstacles to tackle when trying to get sober. In recovery, you are supposed to take suggestions, meet with other addicts in support groups, maybe go to therapy and go through the step and listen to your sponsor. Giving up your will and being humble is the last thing an addict with a big ego will do.

Having such a big ego and being full of pride, an addict may even think they don’t have a problem let alone take advice and help from others. They will devalue other’s opinions, and become critical of them. Ego simply makes you push people away and leaves you trapped in your own selfish desires with a closed mind.

As mentioned before, the ego can be a huge obstacle that can make it difficult to be successful in sobriety and it’s best to be aware of the following risks:

  1. Complacency
    A big ego can make you feel complacent and bored. In turn, it can think that recovery isn’t for you or that it’s not working and while you are so concentrated on how “it’s not working” you miss chances of growth.
  2. Obliviousness
    An inflated ego can make you oblivious and lose awareness of the happenings around you. When you are too busy thinking you are better than everyone else, you think nothing or nobody deserves your time. Obliviousness can also make you unaware of things or telltale signs of maybe things that may put your sobriety at risk.
  3. Carelessness
    When an addict has a big ego, they tend to be careless and don’t put forth any effort into anything. Not even when they are making decisions even if it could result in making a mistake.
  4. Alienation
    Having an inflated sense of ego during addiction recovery can make you distance yourself from people who you may think are less than you. When you alienate everyone around you, it results in no support or anyone that can be there for you in a time of need.

For addicts that may have a year or a significant amount of sobriety, having an inflated ego can take that away in seconds. You may feel you have accomplished all that you can and are feeling great. You may think you got this and can handle anything that comes your way. You then put no more effort into your sobriety and eventually forget the tools you learned and start the road to relapse.

We Are Here to Help with Your Addiction 

Recovery is a lifestyle and must be worked on every day. Having so much pride can stop you from doing this. The only way this can be overcome is by replacing ego with humility. Humility is the exact opposite of ego. You think of others before yourself and there is a lot of ways that can be achieved; through prayer, meditation, and acts of kindness such as volunteering and many other ways.

At Garden State Treatment Center, our programs will have you on your way to a healthier you; physically, emotionally, and in every way. The most important takeaway you can expect from your treatment experience is that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.


  • How does your ego affect substance abuse recovery?
  • How does the ego drive substance abuse?

Published on: 2020-01-15
Updated on: 2024-05-24