Does Pride Have A Place In Recovery?

I’ve been thinking about pride a lot lately. Probably because recently I had to suck up my pride and make amends to those I’d hurt while drinking. Though I was ready and fully willing to make those amends, it’s hard to have pride when you’re saying, “Yep, I did all those crappy things.”

Pride while drinking is dangerous, for sure. It’s what keeps a lot of people from reaching out for help. It did for me, anyway. I thought I had everything under control because I knew my risk of becoming an alcoholic. My dad went into rehab when I was 16 and it was then that I really learned my pedigree. Genetics-wise, I was basically fucked. All kinds of relatives warned me that I had the potential to become an alcoholic.

What they should have said was, “Sara, you are already an alcoholic.”

But I didn’t believe I had a problem. I was too young, I thought. I only drank on the weekends (never mind that I blacked out every single time). I was still on the honor roll, still president of Key Club, still on varsity sports teams. I was a “model student” on the outside – as long as I kept the façade up, there’s no way I could be an alcoholic.

Even after I was raped three times while passed out, it was eight years after my father went into rehab before I let my pride go and admitted that I, too, was an alcoholic.

Since then, pride has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I am so proud of the strides I have made in my seven years of sobriety (particularly the work I’ve done in the last year). I feel like I’ve completely reset my thinking, and my inside now matches my outside. However, I know there are instances where my pride has bit me in the ass. I went off my depression meds because I thought I was fine. Cue the sad, the quick-to-anger, anxious mess I shortly became. My poor son had to feel the screaming and short fuse of Mommy Off Her Meds for a few weeks until I finally put my pride away and admitted that I do, in fact, need chemical support in this fight. Me, the advocate who is always saying that antidepressants are tantamount to the insulin a person with diabetes takes, and that there should be no shame in taking them. I let my pride get in the way.

So now I wonder. Does pride have a place in recovery? Where’s the line between healthy pride in how far you’ve come and sinister pride that sneaks up and sabotages recovery?

2 Comments on “Does Pride Have A Place In Recovery?

  1. Is it about pride?

    Or is it about control? Because when you control the times you lose control, you still might *feel* in control. But when you admit you NEED something, that’s harder. And antidepressants have more stigma by far than insulin.

    • Antidepressants do have a lot more stigma than insulin – that’s the point. The two are essentially the same thing: chemical support for a bodily function that isn’t functioning as it should. There shouldn’t be stigma attached to taking antidepressants, just as there isn’t stigma attached to taking insulin. And yes, in my case, it was about pride.

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