The fact is that mistakes happen. Some occur because we’ve taken shortcuts, eager to get to the desired outcome that much quicker. Some happen because we lack a vital piece of information needed to complete the job. Other mistakes take place because we haven’t attained a certain skill the task requires. Why beat ourselves up over these things? Instead, look at what didn’t go the way we planned or anticipated-or even the way we believe something was supposed to happen-and make the necessary revisions?
One reason so many people in recovery give up in the face of mistakes is that they harbor the mistaken belief that they’ll never get it right, that they’ve always been failures and they’re destined to continue to fail. With that kind of a mindset, is it any wonder that so many of our fellow brothers and sisters in recovery stop short of achieving their full potential? Still, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things we can do, very practical things, to help us gain more self-confidence as we navigate the early days of our recovery.
For one thing, we can stop being so hard on ourselves. It simply doesn’t do us any good. And we all know that we can use all the help we can get, so it’s actually counter-productive to focus on what we’ve failed at rather than what we can do now.
Another piece of advice is to seek the support of others who may be able to offer suggestions that may help us as we tackle certain tasks or projects. This is especially true if what we’re trying to accomplish or deal with is overcoming a problem or issue that’s common in early recovery. This includes things like dealing with persistent cravings and urges, finding a job, mending relationships, becoming financially solvent again, even how to communicate more effectively.
It’s important that we don’t let pride stand in the way of us trying our best to learn what we can from others who freely offer suggestions. We don’t have to do exactly what others have done, but we can certainly see what we can learn from their experience. Is there some common thread between what they went through and what we’ve experienced that we can draw a parallel to? Analyzing what steps they took versus what we did may be one way to begin to craft a personalized solution to what we’re trying to achieve.
Making mistakes, if we allow them to derail our progress in recovery, will result in our stagnation. We will be giving the mistakes a power that they don’t deserve. Everyone makes mistakes. Some of us build them into a mountain that we’re afraid to climb, let alone have the courage to find alternate routes around. This also means that, far from trying anything new, we’ll tell ourselves that we’ve gone as far as we can possibly go. We rationalize that we’re just meant to be where we are and that we can’t go beyond this point.
But that’s a lot of nonsense. Trying new things, even after making a mistake and experiencing a disappointment, can help us broaden our world view and has the added benefit of giving our self-confidence a much-needed boost.
And can’t we all use a little more encouragement in our lives? Make it a point today to look at what is possible, rather than looking backward and regretting our mistakes. Life is, after all, an unending learning experience. There’s so much that life has to offer, but we do need to give ourselves permission to learn and grow and evolve. No, it won’t come without sacrifices, of time, energy, and, yes, making some sense of our mistakes so that we have a better, more workable blueprint going forward. But this is what recovery is all about: the chance to take what is and transform it into what we want it to be.
Get started today. Instead of looking for why we can’t succeed – since we haven’t succeeded before or most recently-look to see what we can do. Start small with reasonably-achievable goals. Make an effort to keep on going and not giving up at the first sign of difficulty or whenever we encounter a minor roadblock. That just means we need to use our creativity to find alternate solutions, to devise a different strategy or approach. Good things will happen when we persevere, when we are determined to find the promise that we know is really there.