The Drug Class Blog

May 24

Why Success is A Struggle

Why Success Challenges Me More Than Failure

Many alcoholics become very comfortable bouncing from one disaster to the next, and when life in sobriety settles down and things start to get good we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. Adding to this they often struggle with a deep sense of guilt and shame for years of mistakes made. Leaving us feeling a deep sense of unworthiness which can creates perfect storm for discontent in success. Most who have attended an inpatient residential treatment center have been exposed to coping skills and life management techniques however in my case this was not really digested until it was reinforced by real life experience trial and error are the best teachers.


People talk quite a bit about staying sober through the tough times, but what I have noticed is more people go out when things were going well then when everything was falling apart in their lives. We as alcoholics thrive under the pressures of disaster so when there is a struggle we will rise to the occasion, but when there is nothing to struggle against we can get confused, bored, and even complacent.


Complacency in sobriety is dangerous and in my personal experience is what I have seen people struggle with the most. I believe it causes many alcoholics to go out when the good times come. But it also isn’t that simple, because mixed with the feelings of unworthiness, the alcoholic is one who also suffers from a feeling of entitlement and superiority, or as the popular saying goes the alcoholic is “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.”


This means that once the complacency sets in due to the good things that are going on in the alcoholic’s life, they can also start to simultaneously believe that they are unworthy of these things and that they are entitled to these things, having made them happen themselves. This sounds fairly confusing and it kind of is because the alcoholic is rife with dualities and dichotomies.


Recently I’ve had a lot of good things happen ie achieved goals- I passed my licensing exam to become a massage therapist (something I had been avoiding for a year), I moved home to VA from FL and stayed sober, I successfully built a support system within a month's time, I have finished the steps and started sponsoring other women, I have regular contact with my kids, I have a relationship with my family, and I am finally getting to a point where I am financially stable. And all of these achievements are overwhelming in fact they scare the shit out of me!!!


Success for me and many other alcoholics that I know is difficult to handle. Because it challenges everything that we believe about ourselves, it means that we are worthy, that we do deserve positive things, and that we can be successful. You see for me and a lot of other alcoholics success is what we really fear. Because it carries with it responsibility and the requirement that we grow up, and show up for life and all that entails. Most alcoholics enter this program emotionally stunted they typically stopped maturing at the age they began using which for most is preteen to early teens. Part of the process of recovery is growing up, that being said you have to do a lot of growing up in a very short time.


Often in early recovery my self-worth and emotional state were based solely on the praise of the day, and if I didn’t receive that praise I was upset, or even worse if I screwed something up, my emotions swung completely to the opposite end of the spectrum. This wreaked a lot of havoc in my life and destroyed any sense of peace I thought I had. My sponsor had some wise words for me. She said when you accomplish anything instead of feeling proud be grateful leave the pride for me. Although simplistic this is profound. It explores that I live my life in gratitude not on my own merit because in the end what pride does is cultivate one’s belief in self reliance.


This is a hazardous idea at best and deadly idea at worst. A basic premise of this program is surrender to a higher power and admitting our inability to manage our lives. We are a people of extremes and so it is difficult to have a balanced view of anything, but I believe it is necessary in order to deal with both the successes and failures that will come during the course of our lives. Most of us have been through a lot so enjoy when the times are good, and remember that everyone deserves to be happy.




Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.


You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram


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