Handling Self-Doubt in Recovery

Upset woman
(Photo by ESB Basic/Shutterstock.com)

Do you find yourself feeling like there is no clear direction to go at the fork in the road? Yeah, we’ve all been there before. It’s that feeling of doubt.

Whether you doubt yourself, your friends or something else, it’s hard to overcome it at times. However, when you’re given the proper tools, you can easily take the necessary steps to figure out which “this or that” of your situation is better for your long-term success.

Why am I doubting myself?

First, let’s go over the fact that everyone doubts themselves from time to time. Literally, everyone, so don’t go running away in fear yet. Doubting yourself is totally normal and can easily be overcome.

Oftentimes, we doubt ourselves because we are unsure which path is going to provide the best outcome. Moreover, both sides of the situation often have benefits, yet only one can be chosen. Therefore, this creates a feeling of not knowing what to do.

What should I do when I doubt myself?

When you find yourself doubting which option to choose, again don’t panic! Overcoming this obstacle is actually fairly simple. First, you’ll want to weigh both sides of the situation. This means detailing out a long list of pros and cons for each.

After you’ve created the list, take a look at it. More than likely, there’s one side that has far more pros than the other. Although, this may not be the case for all scenarios. Either way, you’ll follow the same steps to come to a final decision.

Once the pros and cons are made, analyze both sides, along with what you are trying to get out of the decision. For example, you may be looking to build your self-esteem, take a job, make new friends, choose dinner for tonight, or literally any other decision. Now that you know what you would like the end result to be and have closely looked at both sides, the decision should become clear as to what the best decision is for you.

Of course, if you’re still finding areas of doubt for this decision, go back to your pros and cons list and re-analyze it. Did you miss something the first time around? If so, add it to the list and continue this process until the choice is clear as day.

Does everyone really deal with these feelings of doubt?

Alright, everything is a little easier to understand when there are some real-life examples to go along with it. Plus, I told you that you weren’t alone and you aren’t. I too face doubtful situations all of the time. Yes, even after nearly four years of sobriety, I too find doubt lurking in my life.

My Own Encounter with Doubt

I can still distinctly remember the first time doubt entered into my newly founded sober life. I was at the dinner table when my dad looked up and stated that I should go back to college. Having dropped all my classes prior to going to rehab, I never gave going back to school a second thought. I guess I just assumed, I already failed at it once, why bother trying again? But, still, I cleared my throat and asked him, why should I do that? He began rambling off a long list of reasons, to get a good job, be respected, build confidence and so on.

As the dinner table was cleared and dishes put away, I continued to ponder the question in my head. But, then doubt entered… would I even pass my classes? Would I just fail at it again? Would the other students even like me? These questions just continued to pile up as the night went on. By the time I made it up to my bedroom, I laid there convinced that I would fail and every single student at the college would think I was weird.

The next morning I woke up still feeling doubtful that I could ever succeed in going back to school. Having nothing to do for the day, I wandered around the house aimlessly and continued to ponder. As I did, I recalled what my program had taught me about overcoming these feelings of doubt. So, I ran into the office, grabbed a sheet of paper and started to look at the situation in an unbiased way.

When I began running through the pros and cons, it became quite clear. I was letting my own past failures get in the way of seeing the best option was, in fact, to stand tall and try again. That evening, I proudly announced I would re-apply to college and try again. And, you know what? I actually graduated this time!

Overcoming Doubtful Situations

Even people not in recovery or active addiction find themselves doubting their “next move.” However, those in recovery or active addiction often find it more difficult to overcome the feelings that doubt bring on. Thus, making it easier to revert to old behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol to solve the problem.

The key is to always remember to take a step back and truly analyze both sides of the situation for what they are without any biases. By doing so, you can successfully overcome any feeling of doubt that you may have. While it may not always be easy, it is definitely worth it.



After completing the Narconon program in Michigan, Rebecca has dedicated her life to staying sober and helping others find sobriety using the techniques provided by Narconon.