"I look inside myself to find my peace"


Entitlement - A Priviledge or A Problem?

What does entitlement mean to you?  For many of us it means giving ourselves a privilege or reward that we believe we deserve or we've earned. Usually its something material. We usually feel entitlement when we've done something that makes us feel we should be rewarded for our efforts, in some way, besides monetary. The actual definition of the word entitlement is: right granted by law or contract, especially a right to benefits, the act of entitling, the state of being entitled. For those in recovery, for whatever type of addiction, entitlement can be a priviledge or a problem. We all tend to elaborate on that definition of the word entitlement and we take it to a level that appeases us. How many times have you said yourself, ".. I've done such a good job, I deserve a beer!.." or perhaps "..I've worked so hard today I deserve to buy myself something nice!"  When we work hard, we would like to have some sort of reward, besides what we've earned on a monetary basis. Something that we can reward ourselves for getting up and staying on top of all the things we do everyday. Now there's nothing wrong with that, except human beings almost always have the tendency to overextend or overdue their entitlement. One thing I've seen in people along my journey in life is people take so much for granted. As wonderful as we all are, entitlement is right up there with being taken for granted by all of us at some time or another. We justify it by telling ourselves, we deserve it. Now going on vacation, when we can, to renew and refresh ourselves, to get away from it all. There's nothing wrong with that. Thats one of the best things we can do for ourselves. It's awesome when we can do that especially with good friends and loved ones. So long as we don't over do our entitlement. Its very uplifting for anyone.

It becomes a problem when we believe entitlement should be our reward or should be available to us at anytime and for some people with addictive thinking it can cause a relapse back into their addiction. Believing there is no harm in just this one time. It becomes wrong when our sense of entitlement is blown out of proportion and we use it to justify self serving desires or gluttony. Isn't it funny how our addictive thinking waits and hides in the depths of our minds and raises its ugly head when it knows we are about to treat ourselves because we feel entitled? Remember, addictions are not only drugs and alcohol, they are also sex, gambling, shopping, overeating too. People with addictions will always have a struggle with their addictive thinking throughout their lifetime. Of course the struggle gets easier to overcome the longer we stay away from the things that cause us to be addicts. Our thinking has changed for the positive. We become stronger at subduing our addictive thinking. But for some, there are times they tend to lean back on what they may have had as an addiction as a form of entitlement once in a while. What happens is you may start out with your addictive thinking by just having one drink or a taste of your doc, just one turn at the craps table, overextending your credit card for that one little item you must have. Because you did such a great job that day, you feel you are entitled. And you notice that you feel relief, better after having that one drink, that little taste of your doc, that one throw of the dice at the craps table, just that one item that won't overextend your credit card too much. All these things we think to ourselves, because we feel we have entitlement and are entitled. So the next couple of days go by, you do your routine, you work hard, get things done and in the evening when you're relaxing you say to yourself, "..I did such a great job today, I deserve a reward, perhaps a drink...but just one!"  You proceed to have your one drink. It feels good! The alcohol hits your nervous system, it relaxes you, you think "..wow, it's amazing..it's like a prescription medication how it affects you." It was just one drink.

So the next day goes by, you worked hard, got a lot of good stuff done today. You think you have it all under control. You convince yourself to fall back on that one drink, once again, your doc, one more throw of the dice, one more item on the credit card, even overeating because you've earned it. Now because you've been clean/sober for a while, the tools you've learned in recovery and you've used them all this time to stay away from your addiction. You start to realize what you're doing is wrong. Because we've learned to love ourselves, even guilt creeps in our minds about it. You've convinced yourself that "just one" won't hurt. You walk a fine line believing that you can be like people who are not addicts, who don't suffer from an addictive nature. You think you no longer have an addiction, you can control the side of you that is addictive thinking. For most people in recovery, there will always be addictive thinking at some point. Time has gone by, having a sense of entitlement has happened quite a few times. By now, that entitlement, has become 4 or 6 drinks, a few more hits of your doc, more times at that craps table, overeating things you shouldn't eat a few more times. You see the progression. The proverbial addictive snowball at the top of the hill is starting to roll down on you.
If you haven't stopped already, you know its better to stop now! That's when you realize the way you think about entitlement is corrupted by your addictive thinking. People who are no longer addicts, even after so long of being away from their addiction, like a computer file, the way some people see the entitlement process has been corrupted. It's something we all have to work on and learn not to allow our addictive thinking to control what we are entitled to give ourselves or do for ourselves as a form of reward or gratitude. For these people, it's a work in progress that will last their entire lives. The best thing to do is get a handle on it, own it, embrace it, stay a step ahead of it and help others who are just coming into the front door of recovery as they make their way through their positive changes and out to the backyard where seasoned recoveree's already stand.  

Copyright(c)2014.Entitlement-A Priviledge or A Problem? Written by Sherrie Vitello. All Rights Reserved. 

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