You Are Not a Failure

By De W.

Personal experience … Sober 10 years, thought it would be absolutely no problem. Put myself in a very challenging situation, lapsed for 2 years while in that situation. Got my self out (actually not by choice, but it worked out) and now have 2 years again. What didn’t work for me was believing in the one-drink-leads-to-a-drunk. That is what I drank to. Ok. So you fell down.

Here is something I wrote, when I had 24 hours this last time. Maybe it will help someone else.

Because You have a Failure, You are not a Failure.

I choose. I choose what path to follow. I choose which way to go. I may not consciously choose to fail, but I can choose to go in another direction when the failure comes to light. This is what I have been learning.

I am not what I do. If I make a mistake, I am not a mistake. If I do bad things, I am not a bad person.

I am inherently good. Whether or not I do anything with my life, my life has meaning. If I have a failure, it does not mean I am a failure. If I slip it doesn’t mean I am lost. Negative thinking is just that: Thinking. It is not “reality.” If I put my negative thoughts into action, I have chosen to do so.

Whatever I do at any given moment is what I perceive to be the best action. Two seconds later it might seem like the worst possible thing I could have done. In the moment of the decision however, it may have seemed to be to my advantage. I can change the direction at any time. I can be honest about the action taken and move on to the next one.

That’s important for me to admit and move on. Dwelling on it doesn’t help.

I am scared to death to break my abstinence. I can hear myself dare me to do it. I can make the choice not to. If I do however break my abstinence, I am not a failure. I am acting on a compulsion. I choose whether to continue the behavior. Bad behavior does not make a bad person.

People, humanity, is (if not good) at least neutral. My reason for existence is to do what I can to make a difference. A lot of this is regurgitated from other readings and hearings. I am not sure I am totally convinced, except when I remember “I love you.” “I am not convinced I deserve it.” “You don’t have to deserve it. IT JUST IS.” Then I know I am something special. Failures and all. I am living proof that if you have a failure, you are not a failure. I keep picking myself up and moving on.***

I read this everyday for quite awhile and since my recent difficulty with new days/new beginnings I have it out again. I thought it might help someone else.

(The conversation was one I had with that ‘still quiet voice’ inside myself about 4 years into my first phase of recovery/discovery. It had a major impact on me then, and still does today.)

De W. — Life is what happens while you are making other plans.



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LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. There are as many ways to live free of drugs and alcohol as there are stories of successful sober people.

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