FEAR OF SUCCESS
Are you afraid of too much success? As sobriety moves your life in a positive direction, do you find yourself identifying reasons to sabotage it? Do the expectations, responsibilities and commitments associated with being in recovery and living life successfully cause an uncomfortable anxiety to develop? In these moments, do you begin to question if you deserve the goodness life is providing you, wonder if you are good enough to manage the responsibilities this way of life demands, or whether you’re capable of meeting the expectations of those who support you? If so, you are not alone, nor should you fear these natural feelings.
For some reason, success scares the addicted mind. In this competitive and dynamic world, success brings challenges; with challenges comes fear of the unknown and the need for new skills. When sober and working the program, you have the tools and are able to gain the skills required to succeed in demanding situations, and because of that, you become more valuable to yourself and those you associate with. Your increased value creates additional obligations and responsibilities. As your obligations grow, which is a result of being successful, so does the doubt of whether you can do it all. Success triggers that voice in your head that likes to remind you of all your past failures. This voice hijacks the joy of success and turns it into stress and anxiety. It doesn’t matter if this success comes in relationships, at school, at work, or in your recovery, as you reach new milestones in sobriety, an anxiety-ridden uncertainty tends to show-up.
This is where you choose - will I embrace fear and uncertainty with curiosity and confidence, or make a choice to return to old habits that have provided a destructive comfort for so many years? What path will you choose to take?
If you choose to embrace the uncertainty, what you are embracing is the greatness of life. You are experiencing life exactly as it is meant to be lived. You are expanding your talents, inspiring change, and learning self-confidence. You are allowing the true you to engage in the unknown that is life. You are allowing yourself to express and feel the freedom of emotions. You are confronting challenges and learning from failure. You are directing action based on personal choice rather than rationalized thoughts. You are living through purposeful action that results in genuine success.
The reality is, right now, you have everything you need to be “successful”. It is your choice as to whether you pursue the life you desire or choose the other path. If you do what is right, be honest in all that you do, prioritize your disciplines & commitments, and refrain from rationalized decision-making you are well on your way to living a successful life.
Be careful though, do not define “success” as society tends to. Do not measure your success against others. True life success is not a destination that awaits you; it is a result of living life in a certain way. That result is an abundance of joy that overwhelms your soul. It brings qualities like peace, tranquility, happiness, and acceptance to the present moment, regardless of what you’re in the middle of. The success you hope for has nothing to do with external things. The success you want is found from nourishing the mind, body, and spirit from the inside out.
However, this definition is problematic because few in society find value in it. More often, society identifies success through markers like how much money you have, where you work, what kind of car you drive, where you live, etc. While there is nothing wrong with wanting and obtaining these external things, they are not your top priority. These external rewards are the benefits of living a life that you love, not a provider of happiness. Without a nourished soul, these external things do nothing but provide a false hope or façade of happiness. Without a satisfied soul, these external things, whether you have them or desire them, become the origin of your fear of success. This fear brings about anxieties that ultimately stops your positive progress.
The truth is, fear of success is self-generated when expectations are set. When you define success in the traditional manner, which is the accumulation of external things, you have created expected outcomes accompanied by completion timelines and required action. These measurables are what create the anxiety that makes success so scary. These expectations cause the fear and unease that takes hold of your life. It is this self-generated anxiety that stops forward progress and leads you back down a life path you hoped would never return. The reason is, defining and achieving success in the traditional manner leaves the soul unsatisfied. Even with a beautiful home, fancy car, and garage full of toys, your soul will not find long-term joy and happiness. Organic qualities like joy and happiness are only secured when internal success prospers. This internal success is your medicine for the anxieties of life. As obligations grow, demands increase, and responsibility extends beyond self, it is not the purchasing of a new car that is going to make the accompanying stress and anxiety dissipate. To find the peace you desire, a purposeful way of living that ignites the soul to push forward in all situations is required. A set of core principles that will guide you through uncertainty enables you to proceed even when that voice is telling you differently. This type of success cannot be bought, it must be authentically earned.
To receive this internal success, a fearless success, you must be dedicated to identifying and living your purpose. You must let those core principles that sit deep within your soul surface, so that they can guide your thoughts, words, and actions. With internal success, there are no targeted outcomes, set timelines, or long-term planning. There is an absolute commitment to everyday honesty: honesty with yourself and with those who are on this life journey with you. It is this commitment to honesty that provides the freedom to achieve, the courage to learn, and a gratefulness for all that you have. It is this honesty that leads to a life defined by integrity and integrity is the ultimate success.
Today life is perfect, but only if you let it be, only if you are honest.
FOR CONSIDERATION: For the recovering addict, honesty goes well beyond telling the truth. To be truly honest, one must flush the soul through acceptance, accountability, and action. You must accept what life has delivered, be accountable for how you have lived, and take action to find resolution. Success is not about what has been accomplished in the past or maybe accomplished in the future. Conversely, success is not measured around who you have been or what you have failed to do. Success comes from being honest. Success comes from doing what is right instead of what is easy. Success is the result of daily action that is structured and delivered in a meaningful way. Once you have it, you will see that this internally generated success is far more powerful than anything you can buy off the shelf.
What are your core principles? How are you choosing to live your life today? And can you say that you are living your purpose?
ABOUT CHOICE RECOVERY
Choice Recovery is an addiction treatment center in Mesa, Arizona. Our focus is on the individual and opening them up to new thoughts, awareness, and processes. It is an evidence-based, whole-body approach that combines the proven trauma based therapeutic methods of addiction treatment with a variety of health and wellness initiatives that promote mindful living. Addiction recovery is more than a few classes, face-to-face sessions, and meetings. It is a lifestyle change based on a new way of thinking - a purposeful way of being!
You can reach the Choice Recovery team at 480-527-0337.