FREE Help & Advice - 0808 163 9632 | Intl: +44(0) 203 1313 416  

10 Things to Do Instead of Beating Yourself up When Things Go Wrong in Recovery

Elevator controlDoes it sometimes feel as if there is a voice inside of your head just waiting for you to mess up so it can berate you? If so, you are not alone. Self-loathing can be a problem for people even after they give up alcohol or drugs, which can make a bad situation even worse. Below are 10 things to do when things go wrong which will be far more effective than beating yourself up.

1. Go to a Recovery Meeting

If you belong to a recovery fellowship then this can be a great community to turn to when things start to go wrong in your life. During the meeting, you will be able to share your problems and there are sure to be individuals who will be able to offer advice and understanding. Often just the fact that you have spoken up about how you are feeling can make a huge difference. It can also be helpful to hear about how others are struggling yet are still able to do the right things.

2. Speak to Your Sponsor

If you have a recovery sponsor, this is the time to make use of the relationship. A quality sponsor might not always be able to give you practical advice, but having this friendly ear can make a huge difference to you. Ideally, this will be somebody who has more experience than you do in the AA programme so he or she can guide you that whatever choices you make for dealing with the situation, it will not be putting your sobriety at risk.

3. Speak to A Friend You Can Trust

If you do not have a sponsor, you also have the option of turning to a friend for advice and support. It may be better if this person is in recovery because they may be better able to understand your situation, but it certainly does not have to be the case. The important things is that you trust this person and that he or she understands the importance of your sobriety; you definitely don’t want to be talking to somebody who is likely to suggest that you should ‘drown your sorrows’.

4. Take Action to Fix the Situation

One of the best things you can do now is to take some action to fix the situation. Even if the steps you take now do not ultimately prove to be effective, you are going to feel better just for the fact that you are doing something. The worst thing you can do now is to just isolate and feel bad about what happens. This can put you at the mercy of negative thinking. At least if you are doing something, it will keep you distracted and there is a high likelihood that the steps you take would improve the situation.

5. Reflect on What Happened and Learn from It

If things have gone wrong because of mistakes you have made, it is important that you learn from the experience. If you can do that, it means that this crisis could actually be an important step on your road to success. These days, being able to deal with failure can be just as important as your ability to work towards a goal. Do not waste time trying to shift the blame onto others. Think carefully about what happened so you can learn from it, which will make you stronger in the future.

6. Self-Soothe

Beating yourself up means that you are reducing your ability to deal with the current situation. It is the worst possible thing you can be doing right now. A much better approach is to self-soothe. This means treating yourself with self-compassion and being willing to forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made. Self-soothing is not about trying to avoid the consequences of your actions, or trying to ignore any mistakes you have made, but is about giving yourself the same level of compassion as you would offer a good friend – do you not deserve that?  All of the self-loathing that can accompany failure is unnecessary, but showing yourself a bit of compassion can mean you are able to get back into the ring a lot sooner.

7. Be Mindful

If you have been practicing mindfulness, now would be a great time to make use of the technique. The act of beating yourself up occurs because your own thoughts are allowed to proliferate out of control. Mindfulness allows you to be far more objective about what is happening inside of your head, meaning your thoughts will not have so much power over you. It also means that you are better able to question those thoughts that are overly negative and not helping. Long-term practice of mindfulness can allow you to develop a sense of equanimity, which means that you feel in control no matter what is happening in your life.

8. Go for a Walk

Going for a walk is an easy thing to do, but it can be incredibly effective. The act of walking can free up your thinking, helping you see things in a new perspective. Some of the most creative people in the world are convinced that walking helps them to think better, so you can enjoy the same effect. If you choose to go for a long walk, you may have a solution to your problem by the time you get back – at the very least, things will feel less overwhelming than before.

9. Feel Your Feelings

It is important to lick you wounds when things go wrong, which means being willing to feel your feelings. Most suffering does not actually come from these feelings, but from the need to resist them – the thought ‘I shouldn’t be feeling this way’ or ‘I don’t want to feel this way’. Feelings can also be much harder to deal with when you combine them too much with stories in your head – ‘she said this’ or ‘he did that’. It is much better to just feel the actual feelings; you will usually find that this means they pass much faster and more easily. Mindfulness training can also be very effective at teaching you how to feel your feelings.

10. Get Writing

The situation is going to feel much worse if you just allow thoughts to bang around inside of your head. Writing everything down on paper will make things appear more manageable. The act of writing can also trigger insights and allow you to see things in a way you had not thought of before. Sometimes it is best to just start with some free thought writing – just write down whatever comes into your head without any attempt to edit it. Once you feel as if you have everything written down, you can then go back and start trying to create a structure for it. Do not worry about things such as spelling and grammar. This writing is only for you and there will be nobody judging you for bad handwriting. Once you have finished this written work, you are likely to have a much better idea about your situation and hopefully some type of plan for how you can go forward.

Get Into
24 Hours

We'll Call You

close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0808 163 9632