When Your Inner Voice Is Not On Your Side
When you are in the grips of a substance use disorder or struggling to maintain your sobriety in recovery, it is all too easy to get inside your own head. And the things that you might say to yourself are often not helpful at all.
You might, for example, tell yourself that you will not ever be able to get sober. Or if you are in recovery, you might tell yourself that staying sober is too hard or not worth it. In either case, you might tell yourself that you don’t deserve to be sober because you have made so many mistakes, hurt so many people, and derailed your own life.
That inner voice can say a lot of things, and when those things are negative, they can make long term sobriety seem unattainable. But when we can’t turn the negative self-talk off, it can be helpful to hear from some other voices—voices who can remind us that we can successfully overcome challenges, and that making excuses tends to make things worse rather than better.
Let’s look at some quotes about challenges and excuses.
Reframing What Challenges Represent
You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. – Former First Lady Michelle Obama
In the face of challenges—like a substance use disorder—it is all too easy to wallow in self-pity. But if you think of a challenge as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, it becomes an opportunity to grow. So if, for example, you are able to stay sober today even though you are tempted to drink or use drugs, you will have faced up to a challenge and shown yourself how resilient you can be. And the next time you find yourself struggling, you can look back on this day’s success to remind yourself what you are capable of.
Avoiding the Reflex to Make an Excuse
“Every vice has its excuse ready.” ― Publilius Syrus
That is a quote from over 2000 years ago—revealing that the more things change the more they stay the same. From time immemorial, people engaged in bad or harmful behavior always seem to have a handy excuse for what they are doing. That excuse might not be convincing to anyone else, but it might be enough to keep the person in question from owning up to a problem and making a necessary change. That is why it is so important to be honest with yourself if you are struggling with drugs or alcohol. Making excuses just makes things worse.
Discovering What You Are Made of in the Face of Challenges
Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms. – Author Travis Bradberry
“Growth mindset” is a bit of jargon that might obscure what we are getting at here. The point is simple: Knowing that we all face challenges all of the time, it is important to engage with those challenges in productive ways. When we overcome a challenge, we learn something. When we suffer a setback—even a major setback like a relapse—we learn something. And if we take those lessons forward, we can continue to face challenges with confidence and drive.
Succeeding by Not Making Excuses
“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” ― George Washington Carver
In a certain sense, making excuses is a habit that is nearly as dangerous as the habit of using drugs or alcohol. Or to put it another way, a habit of excuse-making can enable a habit of using drugs or alcohol. And that is a dangerous combination, indeed. If you want to be among those who succeed at regaining and maintaining sobriety—and we would argue that you really should want to—then you have to replace excuses with resolve to get the help and support you need.
We Are Up to the Challenge of Helping You Get Sober
At French Creek Recovery Center, we have the expertise, experience, and compassion necessary to help you regain your sobriety. And we offer the resources, strategies, and support that will help you maintain that sobriety as your recovery journey gets underway. If you are tired of making excuses and are ready to face the challenges that come with changing the direction of your life, we are ready to help.