I feel comfortable making the blanket statement that anyone in the throes of addiction has little to no self confidence. I know, “jeez, how did you come up with that one…what an epiphany.” So what happens when you enter into addiction recovery and still feel zero self confidence?
Like many who are just entering into addiction recovery, I thought that as soon as I stopped using drugs there was going to be some huge amazing change and my life would be back to “normal”. I guess this is what you would call walking around in a pink cloud.
Anyone who has ever been stuck in that pink cloud early in addiction recovery knows that sooner or later that pink cloud drops you on your ass and you are faced with the realization that nothing has changed except the fact that you have made the decision not to feed your addiction any longer. Your internal and external problems are still there.
Hopefully at this point you realize that in order to make improvements to your life you need to begin modifying bad behaviors which have gotten completely out of control thanks to the fact that you have been completely oblivious to EVERYTHING.
I guess what I would consider bad behaviors are things like
- Bad work ethic
- Not paying bills
- Not having stellar hygiene
- Living like a slob
- Ignoring others needs and concentrating only on your own
These are just a few things that I was left to deal with in early recovery. Realizing that you possess any or all of those behaviors is enough to squash any of the self confidence that you have built up by taking charge of your addiction.
If you are not careful this can lead you into a vicious circle of beating yourself up about your bad behaviors which then leads to low self confidence which leads to not doing anything to improve yourself which gets you back to beating yourself up…etc., etc.
Act As If
Again, anyone in addiction recovery has probably heard the saying Act As If. To me, this is the best advice that I have ever gotten. I used this A LOT in early recovery. If I was nervous speaking at an AA or NA meeting I would simply act as if I was not. If I was embarrassed when the subject of my addiction recovery came up with my family I would act as if I was fine with it. Sooner or later…I was fine with it.
So Just Fake Self Confidence?
Well no, that’s not really going to work. You can only fool yourself for so long. I think we have all figured that one out the hard way. What I found is that after a while of acting as if (fill in the blank) I actually was able to do whatever it is I was acting as if I could do.
Once I started to see these positive changes in myself, my self confidence started to build up. I was feeling better and better about myself. Once I began to feel better about myself I found that I could tackle harder internal issues. I have confidence that I was not a bad person…I just did bad things.