Self confidence might not be abundant these days if you do not start trusting in your own abilities to achieve a goal youíve set your mind to. Whether or not youíve succumbed to alcoholism, itís often difficult to stay positive in the face of adversities and every little failure chips away at our self-assurance.
However, Iíve found that, in spite of the fact that practicing and maintaining a confident state of mind is difficult as an alcoholic, it also constitutes a paramount skill in achieving long term sobriety and avoiding relapses. Iíll confess, I had self esteem issues even before my drinking problem and I always envied my confident Ė sometimes overconfident Ė friends. But I eventually managed to power through it. ††††
Relapses are not your friend when it comes to trusting your capabilities
I relapsed. Thrice. Iíd tried to become sober and I failed my goal miserably. On a side note, the first time I went into rehab, I didnít really put much of an effort into achieving and maintaining sobriety; I barely listened to the discussions in therapy. But thatís really beside the point, what matters is that after my third failed attempt I found myself wondering whether or not I should bother trying anymore, because it really seemed pointless to waste everyoneís time. Again!
I changed my therapist
Iíll admit that my fourth shot at sobriety was going to be my last, as I had decided enough is enough. Before I went to the clinic, I decided to schedule a couple of sessions with my therapist but, as luck would have it, he was out of town. I was instead redirected to his partner, a relatively young woman who had a quite a bit of experience with alcoholism treatments under her belt, as I would later find out.
I scheduled these visits to get an outside opinion on the possible reasons why I kept slipping. After summarizing my past experiences and my background, my new therapist told me that my problem was obvious, but I just couldnít see it.
ďWhat is it then?!Ē I anxiously asked. ďYour lack of self confidence and your repeated failures to remain sober have instilled the idea that youíre simply not able to quit drinking. Itís a self fulfilling prophecyĒ, she replied. ďYou go into rehab thinking that you want to get better, when in fact youíre just waiting to fail because you donít really trust that you can do itĒ, my therapist added.
Was it true?
Upon a couple of moments of self reflection, I had to admit that she was perfectly right. I had a long history of failing my goals and the repeated rehab treatments simply constituted three more notches on the belt of disappointment that was my life. The first step in developing a correct way of thinking is to wipe the slate of all those past failures and start a fresh new page in your life from the moment you walk out of the rehab clinic.
I wonít lie to you, confidence canít be built in a day or a week or even a month. Itís an ongoing process of self improvement that lasts for as long as you live. But Iíll tell you this much: itís been five years and I havenít slipped into relapse since my fourth rehab treatment yet. Thatís one of the achievements which really boosted my self esteem and allowed me to believe Iím capable of remaining sober for the rest of my life.