Written By: Fiona Stockard
The Trick to Dealing with Disappointment in Sobriety
Disappointment in Sobriety Requires Acceptance
One of the first lessons I learned in treatment was acceptance. Acceptance of the decisions I’d made to land me in rehab and acceptance of the situations I find myself in. It wasn’t easy!
What I’ve found is that acceptance is usually the first step towards change. Once I was able to accept I was an alcoholic and addict, I was able to make the right decisions towards getting better. In early-sobriety, these decisions are simple, but hard to implement. These include: not picking up a drink or a drug, speaking up in group therapy, attending twelve-step meetings, dealing with disappointment rationally, and getting a sponsor.
Doing the Right Thing
As we continue to do the right thing, our lives start getting better. In time, we come to expect this from ourselves. What I mean is, we expect things to work in our favor. It’s easy to forget the bad feelings and unmanageability that came along with drinking and using. Nevertheless, things don’t always go our way. Sometimes, even when we’re doing the right thing, life happens.
I don’t know about you, but I used to use ANY excuse I could find to get high, especially when I was dealing with disappointment. I wasn’t very good at handling disappointment and used it as the perfect excuse to get as messed up as possible.
How To Cope With Disappointment Better
There are a couple tools I learned in my women’s treatment center that I still use today. The first is “move a muscle, change a thought”. Sometimes, the worst thing you can do is sit around and mope. Take a shower or go for a run. Often, changing activities helps you forget about disappointment, even if it’s only for a little while.
The second tool is to talk about it. Use your sober supports, friends, therapists, and sponsor. A lot of times, talking about something takes the power out of it. Once you take the power out of something you can accept that maybe it was supposed to happen how it did. Have faith that there might be something better for you on the horizon. This is one of my best tools for dealing with disappointment!
The last thing I learned in rehab was how to change my perspective. Happiness and serenity has a lot to do with how we view our lives. Write a gratitude list! Appreciate what you have instead of focusing on what you have lost.
When I was using, my mind was closed off to these suggestions. I thought drugs and alcohol were a better way to deal with my issues. After I ended up in treatment, I realized they weren’t. They were only a temporary solution to my problems and disappointments.
When all else fails, appreciate that you’re a person in the world and do something for someone else. A lot of times, helping others takes us away from disappointment. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter! You’ll realize quickly how lucky you are.