Confident in Myself and My Recovery: Addiction Survivors Discuss the Role of Confidence in Lasting Sobriety
“I value my story, which includes a man that strayed, kids that loved unconditionally, and a woman in the mirror who finally saw courage, confidence, compassion, love and humility staring back.” – Julie, recovering alcoholic and inspiration leader
Sometimes you forget just how important it is to have confidence in yourself until the moment you need it most. For many battling addiction, years of substance abuse has eroded all traces of self-assurance and makes recovery seem like an impossible goal. There comes a moment where the next step is either the sober path or deeper addiction — and you have to feel certain about your choice.
We recently spoke to a few people in addiction recovery who explained that confidence isn’t just helpful in the process, but necessary. Here are a few of the insights they shared with us.
There are some challenges in life that we must face alone, and the more we fly solo, the easier it becomes to stop asking for help. For addicts, however, this can lead to a serious downfall. Even when others reach out to offer support, it becomes habitual to insist everything’s fine.
After three years of sobriety, Alonzo was falling into former habits, and his wife wasn’t afraid to speak up.
“My wife was kind of like, ‘You’re kind of going back to your old ways because you’re being overworked,’” he recalled. “It was all about work, work, work, money, money, money. When she started seeing it was just all about me, she started saying, ‘I see you going in the same direction. You probably want to put that in check.’”
But according to Alonzo, it’s a slippery slope between confidence and pride:
“I told her, ‘I’ve got this.’ By me saying that, she knew I was lifted up in pride. She said, ‘Pride comes before the fall.’
“A week later, I made the decision to come to [addiction treatment],” he said.
Alonzo said his time in therapy helped him see that there’s nothing wrong admitting you’re struggling and asking for help. It’s about accepting yourself as only human — we all need a hand sometimes.
“It’s OK to be weak. That’s when you tell somebody, ‘Hey, I’m really struggling,’” he explained. “That’s really when you’re strong, because you won’t fall. You’re just being vulnerable and being open and saying, ‘Hey, I’m having a tough time right now. I’m having a tough time handling this situation.’”
It’s frightening to make the leap into a brand new life for yourself, even if you know it’s the healthier decision. What ultimately pushed Carlee to give rehab a shot was a simple, but life-changing, goal:
“To become a better person. I just wanted to start over to better my life.”
It takes guts to admit your life isn’t what you want it to be, and even more to actually take the steps to change it. Now that Carlee is sober, she feels ready to take on whatever the future holds.
“I’m going to be able to go out and face the problems and the things that I once ran from,” she said. “I’m comfortable in my own skin now. I don’t feel like I need drugs to support myself, and I don’t feel like I need drugs to be happy in life.”
It’s never too late to take back your confidence — whether it’s in your ability to stay on the sober track or to confront your addiction in the first place. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind, and never hesitate to ask for help. The life you want truly does lie ahead.