What exactly is it? The Oxford dictionary’s definition is smug and self-satisfying. The thesaurus suggests a sense of satisfaction or contentment. Both painfully accurate and potentially detrimental if applied to one’s recovery program.
The synonyms, two seemingly harmless, perhaps relished states of being sound desirable if we are emerging from a background of chaos and addiction. Complacency can evolve into a menacing cancer that eats away, one bite at a time, at all those good, hard-earned habits that took us so long to accumulate.
But, you ask. Isn’t peace and serenity our goal in recovery? And what better way to achieve it than to feel content. Think about that for a minute. Let’s take a baby for example. Once he is comfortable in a fresh clean diaper, and his little tummy is full, and Mommy or Daddy has gently rocked him, what does the baby do? Hopefully, he goes to sleep, right? And what happens while he is sleeping? Nothing. No progression, no learning, no animation. The same is true of our recovery program. We stop growing.
Complacency crawls up our incentive much like a spider inching its way up the inside seam of our jeans. We are not aware of it happening until it injects its venom and it’s too late.
We have all heard horror stories in the rooms of folks who have gone back out. Complacency is the number one culprit. It begins with cutting back on our meetings. The excuses are as varied and contrived as the alcoholic brain can manufacture. I’m too tired, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, so and so will be at that meeting, I’ve already gone to two meetings this week. Pick one. Better yet, throw in a couple originals.
None of these excuses ever stopped me from heading to the bar or liquor store.
The meditation books begin to collect dust on the nightstand or on the bathroom shelf. No time, too tired, or I forgot again. Same thing with our sponsors. Sure, they are too busy or don’t want to be bothered. But we will call them if we have a real problem, right.
These are just some of the danger signs that tell us we might be the next addict or alcoholic to slip on the smooth icy path of complacency. Complacency is the real problem.