Dealing with Failure

Failure of anything is a difficult feeling to overcome. During early recovery, it can be even more difficult to face failure, especially when it comes in the form of a relapse.

For many people, this failure becomes more than just a small bump in the road to recovery; it becomes an insurmountable obstacle. Failure does not have to damage the work you put into recovery. Knowing how to deal with failure and respond in a healthy manner can help you remain strong.

Recognize that Failure is Not Always Bad

Too often, people only look at the negative qualities of failure. They become so afraid of failing that they will not even try something because they believe they will fail. However, by overcoming this fear of failure, you can have the strength to try. Often, one must fail in order to finally succeed, and it might even take several failures to find the right path. Instead of focusing on failure as something dreadful, see it as a normal part of life. Sometimes people fail and other times they succeed, and it is not always completely up to a person as to which of the two happens.

Learn from Failure

Failure can be a positive thing, especially if you take the time to learn from it. Instead of wallowing in the fact that you failed, take the time to consider what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes. Maybe you were introduced to a trigger too early or something else happened that you can change the next time. Instead of focusing on the bad, look at how you can learn from it. This means that you should not deny that you made mistakes or failed. Instead, own up to the fact that you failed and use it as a way to learn so that you avoid doing so in the future.

Stop Associating your Self-Worth with Failure

Another reason people have such a difficult time with failure is that they let it define their self-worth. When they succeed, they see themselves as strong and good. Alternatively, they become terrible people when they fail — also known as failures. If you no longer associate your self-worth with whether you succeed or fail, then you will be freer to try. Acknowledge and respect the effort you are putting into something, not the outcome. Eventually, you will succeed, especially if recognize that there are many definitions of success.

Learn Healthy Ways to Cope with Failure

When failure happens, whether directly related to your recovery or some other type of failure, you need to have a healthy way to cope with the negative feelings that occur. Most addicts used to turn to their substance of choice when they encountered failure. Therefore, recovering addicts need to replace these unhealthy coping mechanisms with a healthy one, such as meditating, yoga, praying, or some other mindfulness or relaxation techniques.

Express your Feelings

When you experience failure, do not feel like you have to hide it form the world. Discuss your feelings with a trusted family or friend. This can help you to get an objective viewpoint of the failure, which can help you to learn from it and see the positive aspects. If you do not feel comfortable talking about it, you can journal or express your feelings through a creative outlet.

Failure is not the end of the world. All successful people have failed again and again. How you deal with failure can make a huge difference in your recovery. Do not let it overwhelm you and make you feel hopeless. Instead, embrace it and let it teach you how to do better next time.