Sometimes we sabotage our recovery efforts not simply because we’re dependent upon our drugs of choice and have a hard time giving them up, but because deep down we’re dealing with fears that even we don’t understand. Many of our fears are subconscious, rooted in our fears, wounds, and experiences with trauma. Because we’re often not aware of our fears, we haven’t even begun to deal with them, confront them, or try to come to terms with them. We don’t even know what they are, let alone how to heal them. Fear of failure is one common subconscious fear that many of us share. We’re afraid of trying and then failing, so we give up before we’ve even given it our best shot. We’re afraid of being ridiculed for relapsing yet again. We’re afraid of the judgmental comments, interrogations, questions, and concerns we’ll get from loved ones if we fall off the wagon. We’re afraid of being embarrassed. We’re tired of feeling disappointed in ourselves. We’re afraid of all the shame, regret, and remorse we’ve gotten accustomed to feeling every time we set an expectation for ourselves that we fail to meet. We’re afraid of feeling yet again that we’ve failed our loved ones and ourselves. We would rather not try than risk failure.
Our fear of failure in life keeps us from learning new things, pursuing the things we’re passionate about, and reaching our full potential. We keep ourselves from really exploring ourselves and our lives fully, because we’re afraid we might get it wrong and fall flat on our faces. We keep ourselves small and limit ourselves, avoiding pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, even when we know our complacence is keeping us from true happiness. The same is true for our recovery. We know what’s possible for us on the other side of hard work, but we’re afraid to do it. We’re afraid to face ourselves. We might sabotage our recovery in all kinds of ways. Perhaps we keep postponing checking into rehab, constantly making excuses or finding ways to procrastinate and distract ourselves. We might avoid asking for help or stay in unhealthy relationships to avoid having to think about ourselves and the fact that we have a lot of work to do in order to get better. We might stop going to therapy, cut ties with our sponsor, or only go to meetings sporadically and halfheartedly. Our self-sabotage comes from our subconscious tendencies towards self-destruction, often the same feelings of unworthiness, self-hate, and self-rejection that make us turn to our addictions and rely on our drugs of choice in the first place. Deep down we don’t feel worthy of happiness or good health, so we sabotage ourselves. We’re so afraid of what it would mean to really believe in ourselves and have faith in our recovery, to summon the courage to leave self-destructiveness behind, to make important changes in our lives, and to take huge steps forward in our recovery.
When we fear failure, we might actually be fearing success. We’re afraid of putting ourselves out there and offering ourselves and our gifts to the world, only to be judged and rejected. We want people to approve of us and accept us, and we want to be successful, but perhaps it’s nearly impossible for us to imagine what success would look like. Will people doubt our abilities? Do we doubt ourselves and our capacity to be successful? Are we afraid of success because we fear hard work and commitment? Maybe we’re afraid that if we don’t succeed, we will fall into another depression, something many of us have experienced before. There are challenges that come with success, and we’re afraid of burning ourselves out, relapsing, or not being able to rise to the challenges.
The truth is, healing happens when we take a risk and bet on ourselves. We might not always know the outcome, and the uncertainty can be scary and overwhelming. We’ve already been through so much with our addictions and mental health issues that we owe it to ourselves to give ourselves a fighting chance. We have to push through the self-doubt, all the limiting beliefs we’re still holding onto, and the voices of our inner demons which us we’re bound to fail and destined to suffer. We have to believe that we’re strong enough to get better. We have to keep telling ourselves new truths until we believe them. We are strong and capable enough to move through any and all of our fears. We have to affirm to ourselves that fear doesn’t have to overpower us anymore. We don’t have to let it co-opt our time, energy, health, well-being, happiness, or inner peace. We deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else, and our addictions haven’t made us any less worthy.
The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery and is here to help you reclaim the life you love. We are a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440. Your new life starts today. Reach out and let Riverside Recovery be your support system as you do the work to heal.