The Power of Acceptance: Embracing Change for a Brighter Future
Those of us who are caught up in the midst of addiction will always have some explanation for why we are unable to escape this suffering. We may try to put the blame on society, our genes, or bad luck, but if we are honest, we have to also admit we are our own worst enemies. It is often self-sabotage that prevents us from moving forward towards a better life in sobriety.
Self-sabotage occurs when your behavior gets in the way achieving your goals. There are many ways you can sabotage your own efforts but the most common would include:
The idea you might be deliberately stopping yourself form achieving your goals might sound like an outrageous thing to suggest, but it is a well-documented phenomenon. This is something that usually happens on an unconscious level, so it’s not like you are deliberately doing it. The most common reason for self-sabotage is the hidden belief that you don’t deserve to succeed.
You can’t get and keep what you want if you don’t believe you deserve it. ~ Pat Pearson (Stop Self Sabotage)
It is common for those of us who fall into addiction to have low self-esteem – this feeling of not being good enough may have been there even before we started using alcohol or drugs. Our low self-esteem means we secretly believe the suffering of addiction is what we deserve, and this way of thinking keeps us trapped.
Self-handicapping is a special type of self-sabotage where a person deliberately fails in a desire to protect their ego. It occurs in a situation where you choose to under-perform, or create the conditions that cause you to underperform, because you are afraid of trying your best and failing. A good example of self-handicapping would be getting drunk the night before an important interview. Self-handicapping can keep you trapped in addiction because it means you are never willing to fully commit to sobriety.
One of the keys to overcoming self-sabotage is to increase your ‘deserve level’ (your current perception of what you deserve in life). You can do this by developing some self-compassion, and techniques such as loving-kindness meditation can be effective. Working with a therapist can also help you realize how much more you deserve from life.The first step to eliminate self-handicapping behaviors is to recognize that you are doing it. In order to achieve anything of significance in life, you are going to have to risk failure. There is no shame in trying your best and failing – the only real shame is in never trying at all. The good news is that once you become willing to fully commit to sobriety, your success is almost guaranteed.
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