A common reason why individuals just accept the limitations and suffering of addiction is that they do not believe that they have another option. This pessimistic view of their life occurs due to low self-esteem and a feeling of powerlessness.
If you struggle with the idea that it is within your power to improve your situation, you might need some convincing to accept this as fact. Others can try to talk you into accepting this idea but, at the end of the day, it is something you need to see to believe. You need to start believing in yourself so that you can being to experience the benefits of this new attitude.
The Source of Low Self-Efficacy in Recovery
Self-efficacy refers to the belief in your ability to achieve a goal. If you have low self-efficacy in regards to recovery, it means that you do not believe it will be possible to achieve this state. Self-efficacy and self-esteem are closely related – the former is a perception of your ability to change your world and the latter is a perception of your own value as a human.
Those falling into the trap of substance abuse often have low self-esteem to begin with. The process of addiction will further lower their self-esteem. Low self-efficacy occurs as the person tries to control their addictive behaviour. Every time the person tries to stop or limit his or her intake but fails, it chips away at their belief in the ability to change. Eventually people reach a stage where they just feel powerless and so are willing to accept a situation that is intolerable.
It is common for individuals with low self-efficacy to use logical fallacies to rationalise their situation. This occurs due to cognitive dissonance – a type of mental discomfort that occurs because the person wants to quit, but he or she feels incapable of ever achieving this state. The person resolves the cognitive dissonance by believing in unsupported ideas about how recovery would be boring or similar to serving a prison sentence.
How to Start Believing in Yourself and Recover from Addiction
The key to believing in yourself is to increase your self-efficacy. One way of doing this is to set yourself some small goals that will be easy to accomplish. Every time you accomplish one of these goals, it gives your self-efficacy a boost and puts you in a position where you are able to attempt even bigger goals. Eventually your self-efficacy will be so high that you will be much better able to achieve your goals in life.
If you are suffering due to an addiction, you do not have the luxury of being able to slowly rebuild your self-efficacy over time. By continuing with this behaviour, you are taking a huge risk and could be dead before you reach a point at which you feel strong enough to quit. In this case the advice is to ‘fake it to make it’. This is all about taking a leap of faith and choosing to believe that you will be able to change your life with the help of the right resources.
Some people will really struggle when it comes to developing faith in recovery if they have low self-efficacy. In this situation, it can be very helpful to spend time with a therapist. This professional will be able to use techniques such as motivational interviewing to rapidly boost your self-efficacy. It can also be a great help to get help from those that have already achieved lasting sobriety because their high self-efficacy can encourage you to start believing in yourself.