Self confidence might not be abundant these days if you do not start trusting in your own abilities to achieve a goal you’ve set your mind to. Whether or not you’ve succumbed to alcoholism, it’s often difficult to stay positive in the face of adversities and every little failure chips away at our self-assurance.
However, I’ve 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. I’ll confess, I had self esteem issues even before my drinking problem and I always envied my confident – sometimes overconfident – friends. But I eventually managed to power through it.
Relapses are not your friend when it comes to trusting your capabilities
I relapsed. Thrice. I’d tried to become sober and I failed my goal miserably. On a side note, the first time I went into rehab, I didn’t really put much of an effort into achieving and maintaining sobriety; I barely listened to the discussions in therapy. But that’s 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 everyone’s time. Again!
I changed my therapist
I’ll 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 couldn’t see it.
“What is it then?!” I anxiously asked. “Your lack of self confidence and your repeated failures to remain sober have instilled the idea that you’re simply not able to quit drinking. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy”, she replied. “You go into rehab thinking that you want to get better, when in fact you’re just waiting to fail because you don’t really trust that you can do it”, 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 won’t lie to you, confidence can’t be built in a day or a week or even a month. It’s an ongoing process of self improvement that lasts for as long as you live. But I’ll tell you this much: it’s been five years and I haven’t slipped into relapse since my fourth rehab treatment yet. That’s one of the achievements which really boosted my self esteem and allowed me to believe I’m capable of remaining sober for the rest of my life.