How Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Relevant to Recovery

Recovery | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Meeting Your Recovery Needs

You might have heard of Abraham Maslow in high school. And there’s a good chance that you never thought about him again. Yet, some of what he had to say is very relevant to those in recovery – particularly early recovery. In fact, anyone in early recovery might want to learn a bit more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow was a theorist, writer, and American psychologist. And one of his most well-known theories applies to anyone struggling to free themselves from the grip of addiction. Even someone who is still fighting an addiction might want to know what Maslow had to say.

Essentially, Maslow had many theories about human development. He wrote books, such as his 1943 book called A Theory of Motivation as well as his 1954 book titled Motivation and Personality. In both of these books, one will find explanations about a person’s hierarchy of needs.

The Core Components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The theory states that a person has many needs in life. Some of these needs are more pressing than others. He referred to the more pressing needs as the lower needs because someone cannot move on to meet any other needs before the lower needs are met. Because of this view, Maslow ranked needs into a hierarchy or tiers. According to Maslow, the needs that a person has must be met working from the lower needs first and then moving on to the higher ones.

The following describes the needs of a human being from lowest to highest:

Physiological Needs – These are a person’s most basic needs. They are those that need to be met in order to survive, such as a need for food, water, air, and sleep. If a person is not getting these needs met, he or she will have very little room for thinking about any other needs for love or security. One’s physiological needs must come first.

Security Needs – These needs are those that keep someone safe from harm. They are the need for community and belonging. They might also be needs for protection and safety. However, these needs are often not met if one’s basic needs haven’t been met first.

Social Needs – These are needs for love, affection, and companionship. All human beings have these social needs, and they need to get met too. However, not before the other more primary needs listed above. In co-dependent relationships, it can be easy for someone to give up some of their more basic needs for the sake of the relationship. However, this might turn out to be self-harming if a person is not getting their own basic needs met first.

Self Esteem Needs – This is a person’s need for feeling valued by other people as well as feeling valued by themselves.

Self-Actualization Needs – This is a need that people have for reaching their potential. However, Maslow stresses that meeting one’s human potential cannot come before meeting all the other types of needs.

This is a very simple and basic way of explaining this theory. However, if you wanted to read more about this theory, you can easily find more on the Internet. What’s important for a recovering addict to remember is that one’s basic needs for shelter, food, and water need to be met first.

When those basic needs are met, a person will have more attention and energy to devote to the healing of addiction. To learn more about how these concepts can be applied to a holistic recovery program, call us at 877.762.3707 or contact us online to speak with an expert in the field!


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