Overcoming self doubt is a challenge for everyone, but more so for people in recovery
It’s no secret that overcoming self doubt is something that has to be worked on almost every day if you are in addiction recovery. Recovery is filled with many challenges as we work to become better versions of ourselves. Many obstacles, like self control when it comes to triggers and cravings to use again, are outgrown. Our brains begin to heal, and we get more experience with the new tools provided by the recovery lifestyle. We also develop new life skills.
Negativity keeps a residence in our brains
Self doubt is experienced by countless recovering people. I can attest to this and so can many others. When we begin to stand on our own two feet again, our minds can be plagued by negative self-talk and monkey brain. It is important to recognize that overcoming self doubt will help us with recovery and every other life challenge we face.
Self Doubt Definition
A lack of faith in oneself: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty about one’s abilities, actions, etc.” I like that. The opposite of doubt is faith — how can we affirm faith in ourselves?Merriam-Webster
How does this lack of confidence manfest itself
Self-doubt can manifest in many ways for those in recovery. Monkey brain, or monkey mind, is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused. According to Buddhist principles, it’s the section of your brain closely linked to ego, which makes you believe that you can’t do anything right. Monkey brain also stunts creativity and decreases passion. This part of the brain is very loud and can feel seemingly impossible to shut down. Therefore, it is distracting and frustrating — you’re constantly fighting this inner voice, which grows exhausting.
Negative self-talk is pretty self-explanatory. It is the inner conversations you have with yourself which hinder the ability to believe in yourself and your abilities (talents, the way you carry yourself, what you believe in, etc.). These thoughts can decrease confidence and the ability to make positive changes in one’s life. Negative self-talk promotes cycles of unhappiness and can feel impossible to overcome.
“We don’t always realize it at the time, but we’re directly defeating our progress and sabotaging our recovery through our negativity, our pessimism, our self-doubt, our cynicism and our skepticism.”Guest House
The bottom line is that self-doubt causes anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It can induce self-destructive behaviors that can lead to relapse. Ironically, we are so fearful of relapsing that our thoughts basically bring the self-fulfilling prophecy of relapse to fruition. We stop believing in ourselves and self-sabotage. Overcoming self doubt can ease many of our mental health issues.
Steps for taming self doubt
Psychology Today suggests the first step to shutting down the monkey mind is to be grounded and calm (aka be in the here and now). “Being present in this way is called mindfulness… Being mindful encompasses awareness and interconnectedness between your inner and outer worlds. If you are more awake and alert, you can more easily receive messages from within as well as from the universe.” Quieting the mind with meditation is also an excellent way to find serenity and centeredness.
Reframing one’s thoughts can combat negative self-talk. This is a skill that takes some training, but will increase self-esteem and promote positive life choices. For example: “I won’t stay sober.” Change to: “I can stay sober, and I am worth it.” We have the ability to live happier lives where we believe in ourselves by changing the ways we speak to ourselves. Pay more attention to the conversations you have within and take a few moments to list these negative thoughts. Then, go back and reframe thoughts so you have a tangible copy to fight against your negative self-talk. With time, you will conquer this obstacle and find self-love.
Above all, know that you are not alone
Many people suffer from self-doubt — isolating by believing that you’re the only one with a lack of confidence is part of the sickness. You’ll sabotage your success if you feel like a black sheep. Having some doubt is natural and needed, but being saturated with it is dangerous. Stop worrying about what others think and learn to have faith in yourself. Set goals and kick butt! And remember, you are capable, loved, and so worth it.