How the 7 Deadly Sins Impact Addiction Recovery

Apr 23, 2024

Whether you come from a religious background or not, you’ve probably heard about the seven deadly sins. These seven character traits are thought to be the root of every harmful action (or inaction). What you may not know is how these characteristics might have led to your addiction or how they affect you during recovery.

Deadly Sins Impact Addiction Recovery



Pride is at the root of many other deadly sins. It is the inability to accept anyone’s wisdom over your own, even God’s. It makes us unbendable and unteachable. It stops us from seeking help from a drug or alcohol abuse treatment center because we don’t want to admit we have a problem. We don’t want others to see our imperfections (as if they thought we were perfect to begin with.) We don’t want to hand any control over our lives to another, even if that is the healthiest and best choice we could make for ourselves.

Pride leads to fear and anger. We hide our vulnerabilities and feel threatened when people probe at our shortcomings and emotional wounds, even if they’re trying to help us heal. When we give up our pride, we make great strides toward recovery, have access to resources we would not have otherwise, and turn our lives over to our Higher Power.

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break,”–Anonymous


Slothfulness is a lack of motivation. Often viewed as laziness, slothfulness can actually extend from failed past attempts and a desire to avoid further pain and frustration. It is recognizing a need for change but not following through, even if we make our situations worse by doing nothing.

Some drugs and alcohol encourage slothfulness, making us “mellow” or “wasted.” While under the influence, nothing of value gets done. Children go uncared for, we forget personal hygiene, and we don’t want to go to work or face difficulties of any kind. Our relationships fade through apathy and avoidance.

Recovery takes active participation, sacrifice, and determination. Drug rehab is hard, and we either learn to fight or fail. Slothfulness kills your recovery.


Greed is a preoccupation with the concept of more. We want more praise, power, money, houses, cars, sexual partners, drugs, and alcohol. We are never satisfied, and if our having more means someone else does without, we don’t care (at least not enough to change).

Addiction leads to greed through biology. As we abuse substances, it takes more and more of the same substances to achieve the same physiological effect. We ignore any signs that we’ve had enough. Eventually, we take or drink more, even at the expense of what we already have: our families, friends, jobs, and homes. We take until we get sick. We take when it harms us or others. We take even when we see people overdose—or we overdose ourselves. In our search for more, we lose what we have or could have in the future.


Gluttony is the inability to stop. Often referred to in relation to eating disorders, it is when we eat beyond all signs of satiety until we get physically ill or end up purging. In relation to drug and alcohol use, we aren’t using for enjoyment, or we would stop when we’re no longer enjoying ourselves. We use drugs and alcohol to numb our pain, block out old memories, disguise our inadequacies, and, oddly enough, feel in control. We lose all sense of proportion, use beyond our warning signs, and overdose without intervention.


To envy is to want what someone else has. It is different from greed in that rather than not caring if there is enough for others to share in the wealth, we want it instead of someone else.

Wallowing in envy has led us to commit crimes and justify them. Our victims have money we need to buy our drugs and alcohol, so we take what we want. Sometimes, it is envy that drives us to use it in the first place to drown out feelings of anger, pain, and inadequacy. We cannot have the life, spouse, money, etc., that we want, so we want it all to go away.


Lust is all about gratifying physical and emotional desire, regardless of the consequences to others. We generally obsess over the object of our desire, but once we have it, its value lessens in our eyes. With sexuality and romance, for example, lust is a physical attraction that isn’t concerned with the other person’s needs. It’s all about us. It doesn’t matter if the other person loses a marriage, children, or life so long as we gratify ourselves.

In relation to drugs and alcohol, the need for the next fix definitely drives us. Worse, we may use alcohol or drugs to get other things or people we desire. We draw others into our addiction until it becomes theirs.


Wrath is an inability to forgive. It is wanting revenge or a settling of the score. We cannot move on or be happy unless they suffer at our hands or by some other means. Many people turn to addictive substances after abuse of some kind. We are consumed with hard feelings until we no longer see the good in our lives. We cannot heal because we can’t let go of the past. We wish others harm, a sentiment so damaging we slowly poison ourselves.

Last Words

These character traits are very human. We all have them to some degree unless we make a concerted effort to subdue that part of ourselves. They are harmful to others but also to ourselves and can hamper recovery. If you’re looking for faith-based recovery programs near St. George, UT, we can help.