I want to talk about the fear of failure as it relates to rehabilitation. Those who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction and their loved ones are all too familiar with this issue. Yet, if you look at rehabilitation as reestablishing normality, reclaiming or redeeming your life’s goals – then understanding rehabilitation and the fears associated with it applies to everyone. In trying to discover (or rediscover) our passions in life and live our true purpose – we must break down any barriers that stand in our way. Fears are barriers that we create for ourselves. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of letting go, what if’s and how will I ever’s – these are the pitfalls on our journey of life.
Here is how I see the progression of fear or downward spiral that fear of failure can cause:
- my current state (situation, addiction, relapse) makes me feel stuck. I am afraid to change because I am afraid things will never get better. I am afraid to fail.
- my fears lead me to worry, I experience stress, things seem to get worse and worse
- stress leads to anxiety, illness, pain, emotional distress and anguish
- I know I need help, but getting help means changing the way things are. It is hard to make a change.
- I resist doing anything that requires making a change. I may even be comfortable in my misery because I think I can manage it. I begin to try to mask it. I am so afraid that I will hurt the people I love. I come up with excuses and reasons to not change. I don’t know why I slip into this pattern. I am afraid to fail. I am afraid to succeed. I am stuck.
- this resistance to making a change in my life and doing the work it takes to restore myself is making matters worse and I begin to feel the pressure
- the pressure that I put on myself either to take action or for not taking action to reform or redeem myself leads to distress and depression
- I try to feel better by using, escaping, blaming, and all the negative things I do that keep me in my stuck state. My failure state. So the fear of failing actually causes failure.
- it is true, failure sucks, it ruins lives. Not taking action is ruining my life. My fears are making me fail. If I can get out of this rut, I could succeed. If only I had some help.
- Getting to a point of desperation makes me realize I need help.
And here in lies the big problem so many of us face. Because, if we can’t help ourselves and we resist getting help from others how will we ever succeed?
If we can’t avoid the obstacles or break them down, we need to be resilient, resourceful, and persevere to find ways to go around or sift through them. I believe there is a way for everyone to succeed in life. Rise above your fears, reach out for help and guidance when you need it, and overcome any obstacle that keeps you from living your best life.
How to Get the Help You Need
Addicts and their loved ones can persevere, overcome the fear of failure and stay strong through an upwards spiral. Have you ever tried going up the spiral slide at the park? It isn’t easy. Yet it is possible. You can do it!
Facing your fears, recovering, persevering, overcoming obstacles, getting help, staying strong, and keeping the faith is all part of an upward spiral. It looks like this:
- I realize that I need help, first I must accept my situation
- I need to grab hold of any bit of hope to motivate me and guide me through
- I look to resources for inspiration
- I change my attitude from despair and fear to hope and trust
- I learn to trust and accept myself
- I try to feel better by taking time to do things for myself. I turn to techniques for self-care, self-reliance, and self-love
- I feel the rush of joy with each step towards success. This time things are different. I know it is still difficult, but I believe in myself and I trust the people who are supporting me.
- I experience a transformation. I can see how far I have come. I feel better. I enjoy the clarity and the ability to have foresight again. I look forward to my future now.
- I feel so good that I want to celebrate. I deserve to be joyful about each step I take. I accept encouragement and I weather through any setbacks because I have built up my strength. I can do this.
- I am able to trust myself now. I have everything I need to be the best me. I am who I want to be now.
- I love this feeling! I am joyful. I am free.
Back in January of 2012, I was writing a lot about overcoming obstacles. I did that for inspiration for myself. I used to be worried all the time. I had many fears. I was afraid something bad would happen. I was afraid I would not be a good mother. I was afraid I would lose my husband. I was afraid of making mistakes. I was worried that I couldn’t do my job. I thought my boss didn’t like me. I thought no one liked me. I didn’t think I could ever achieve my dreams because I didn’t have a degree. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have anyone I could trust to help me. I didn’t know how to start. I got very depressed.
I decided long ago that things would only change if I made a change. No one else could do it for me. If I was going to fly, I needed to learn how to navigate. If I was going somewhere, I would be the one deciding where I would end up.
I started to use positivity as a tool. Being positive helps. It makes things simple. I follow my heart. I listen to my inner sweetheart. But life isn’t that easy. All the positivity in the world won’t make the fears just dissolve and go away.
Do not let your problems define you. Your situation may be a part of you or your life right now, but you are so much more. When that inner critic starts telling you different, let your inner sweetheart speak up. Listen to the soft voices inside you. Think back to what you really want. How do you really see yourself? Would you like to be that person?
I try to stay optimistic. I try not to carry my worry too long.
So, how low can I go? How do I wake up and smile every day? How do I care for my family? Do well at my job? Pursue my dreams? How do I shine when I am sad, hurt, in pain, afraid?
One day, you will wake up and say, “I am ready!” Today I will do something for myself to turn things around. But, how? Change requires transformation.
Transform your fear into action. See yourself without the pain. Imagine yourself happy and in control. Decide where you want to be and what you will be doing when you finally achieve your dreams. Use the vision of yourself succeeding and feeling the way you want to feel to motivate you.
For me, I include in my vision being healthy. For me, that means defeating my food addiction and sedentary lifestyle. For me, that means recognizing the signs and not letting myself fall into depression. For me, that means not succumbing to my tendency to hibernate and let my social anxiety keep me from doing things I like to do. I see myself healthy and active. I see myself happy.
Because I know when I get to the “other side” I feel great. I know what that is like and I love it. I want more of that good feeling. I want that joy. I want that for everyone. I want that for you. How will you get there?
Where can you get help? Who can you trust?
- Support Groups
- Professional Care/Rehabilitation Center
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Spiritual Guidance
- Life Coaching
Releasing the fear of failure, or any fear, involves believing that you can. Talk yourself through it. Pray. Meditate. Write. Draw. Do whatever works. Try new things.
Choose Peace and Confidence
See yourself happy. See yourself at the top of the spiral slide. What will it look like when you succeed? How will it feel when you are peaceful and confident? Once you can believe that you can make it happen, you can. And you will. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your family. Why? Because of that thing called love.