Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time


Early in recovery, I felt terribly uncomfortable talking in a support group setting.  If I did, I’d always second guess what I said and whether it sounded silly or stupid to others.  I guess in a way, I felt judged.

The truth is, I wasn’t fearing the judgment of others, I was judging myself.  I second guessed what I said because I had not developed what I call, “inside myself” confidence.

You see, I believe there are two kinds of confidence.  There’s the confidence we have for matters outside ourselves and then there’s the confidence we have for matters within.

Here’s what I mean …

Outside Myself Confidence

As a senior level director at an advertising agency, I felt completely confident consulting clients about how to reach their potential consumers and how to get those consumers engaged in their product.

I feel completely confident when I drive a car – not about the weather, how others drive, or circumstances beyond my control, but in knowing how to turn the car on, maneuver it around and get from point “A” to point “B.”

I feel completely confident in knowing how to do most of what we consider “everyday” type tasks.

I came into this level of confidence based upon practical experience gathered over time.  I’ve learned from mistakes as well as the things that clicked into place.  I’m sure you feel the same in many areas of your life.

However, none of these types of situations require me to reveal anything about who I am on the inside, or that I expose truths about myself which I’d never want you to know.

Inside Myself Confidence

This is the confidence I began to develop once I embraced the recovery process.

It was an uphill battle for many months.  I listened to others who had the recovery I wanted.  I took the action steps they recommended if I wanted sobriety from alcohol and anorexia.  Through some painstaking, tear-filled, honest, work, I’ve developed a far better understanding as to who I truly am and how I view life, mine as well as the world at large.

Over the years, my confidence in me began to build.  Someone once referred to it as “building a spine for my soul” which, to me, is truly beautiful way to describe this experience.

Today I continue to learn about me and what it takes to remain in healthy recovery.  Perhaps even more profoundly, I’ve learned from
seeing what others chose (or not chose) to do and found themselves in relapse.

To be sure, I’ve made mistakes.  Yet through them, I’ve learned.  I’ve listened to people share what worked for them and I learned.  I’ve had those I sponsor/mentor ask me questions that caused me to pause and in turn, we learn.  I’ve had my sponsor point out things to me that I had no idea were present … oh boy, do I learn from her!

Bottom line, through all the tears and laughter, taking the action steps required, staying present during “miracle” moments and being brutally
honest about who I am and what I feel, I’ve become confident from the inside out.

And when that “inside myself” confidence is present, I know I’m speaking my truth which leaves no room for second guessing.

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