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The Trap of Materialism

We find an entire new life in sobriety. Suddenly we are able to hold down a job or advance in our career, and find that we no longer have a fear of economic insecurity. We may want to treat ourselves to a few nice things, but we have to maintain an awareness of our propensity for addictive behavior. There is a common adage in the recovery community: “Whatever you put before sobriety, you will lose.”

Materialism is putting tangible things or physical comfort before spiritual values. In recovery, we choose to live by a set of spiritual principles, and choosing anything over these principles puts us in great danger of relapse. We can easily find ourselves falsely believing that our happiness is contingent upon material gain, but happiness comes from within. In a 2012 Psychology Today article, “The Madness of Materialism”, Psychologist and lecturer Steve Taylor explains “Our mad materialism would be more forgivable if there was evidence that material goods and wealth do lead to happiness. But all the evidence fails to show this. Study after study by psychologists has shown that there is no correlation between wealth and happiness.”

Happiness is the goal of every human, but it’s important to be aware of the fact that material wealth has little influence on our ability to find peace and serenity. Perhaps even more so in recovery because we have already seen firsthand how the momentary happiness of alcohol and drug use ultimately leads to despair. We found serenity through living by new principles, and the introduction of excessive material gain can interfere with these principles.

Materialism, according to a 2016 Big Think article, “Is Materialism a Mental Disorder, is associated with “higher rates of depression, anxiety and anti-social behavior. According to a series of experiments recently carried out at Northwestern University, when college students are exposed to pictures of luxury goods or words “mobilizing consumerist values”, they rate themselves higher on scales of anxiety and depression.” Anxiety and depression were part of the symptoms of our addiction that led us to seeking treatment, and it would make little sense to introduce a new set of factors that would ultimately lead us back into the same sense of despair that controlled our lives before we found sobriety.

Cultivating resilience for lasting wellness, the co-ed programs offered at Resilient House on a full continuum of care provide holistic and clinical expertise for recovery. Our 50,000 square foot facility in Shreveport provides the tranquility and serenity you need to heal your mind, body, and spirit. It’s time to live. Ready, set, go: 833-CHANGE1