Handling Disappointment

Anytime you suffer a setback or a disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. -Les Brown

Today I received some disappointing news.  I have mentioned in previous posts that I have some legal consequences as a result of my addiction.  Consequently I have opted to participate in a program that will have long-term positive benefits.  The short-term, however, is intensive, time-consuming, and requires following rules that seem to have no basis in logic.

One such rule is that I am not permitted, while enrolled in this program, to attend any establishment or function that serves alcohol.  Being in recovery, this rule for the most part is fairly easy to follow.  However, Christmas is approaching, and I traditionally celebrate with an extended, large family. and naturally alcohol will be present.  I have been a participant in this program for close to three months, and have had different thought processes along the way.  First, I thought I would wow them with my charm, wit, and ability to be the best participant they have ever seen, and they would therefore bend all sorts of rules for me.  Once I began the program, I realized quickly these dreams would never come to pass.

My next thought, once I had gotten the lay of the land, was to simply go to the family parties, because the supervision of these rules is mostly the honor system.  There are plenty of people bending the rules everywhere I look, so why not?  It’s a ridiculous rule anyway, and I am reasonably confident that I could get away with it.

The more I thought about that option, the more it unsettled me, because it smacked a little too close to my old way of thinking.  So the final option was the one I took:  if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so I made an official request, in writing, to have an exception to this rule for Christmas.  I explained the entire scenario (quite eloquently, if I do say so myself), and my sincere and altruistic reasons for wanting this (small children who look forward to this tradition, family unity during the holidays, and so on).

If you re-read the first line, you already know the end to this story… denied.  The reasons were as ridiculous as the rule itself, I won’t waste time on them.  I haven’t felt that crushingly disappointed in a really long time.  I try very hard to keep expectations low so that I can avoid the disappointment I felt today, but I have to admit it… I really, really thought this exception would be granted.

As I worked through all the different feelings, I think the part that hurts the most, and I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I am really disappointed because it feels like the “powers that be” simply don’t like me.  I don’t mean to pat myself on the back too much, but generally I am a pretty likable person.  Plus, once I commit to something, I try to do it to the best of my ability, which usually gets validation from the people around me.  I don’t feel like I am getting anything remotely like validation in this program, and it really stings my ego.

So what to do?  Short-term, absolutely nothing (with the exception of bitching about it to the people closest to me)… I am powerless in this situation.  Long-term, I guess I have to look at why it bothers me so much that I can’t win the approval of people who probably don’t think twice about me.  Sigh… more self-examination…

Sorry for the less-than-upbeat post.  I am ever hopeful that things will look up tomorrow!


Posted on December 6, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Sorry to hear about this setback. But you need to rememeber something— you have plenty of people who like you very much. The only thing you need these people to do is to approve you through the program (or however you want to describe it). You have enough love from people who will be with you after you are done!


  2. Aww, this stinks and I’m sorry for the disappointment. You won’t always have to follow these rules, but this holiday season you did the right thing by being up front and honest, and there is nothing to regret (or worry about). I hear you on wanting approval and feeling that sting when it doesn’t come. That is such a tough lesson and all I can think is I just need to keep feeling it and know I’m not alone to thicken my skin a little.


  3. That is a real bummer but the alternative to the program was quite a bit worse. Most likely they don’t dislike you because if someone did they don’t know you. You have made tremendous progress and yet it is still fairly new. So maybe someone there knows something about this stuff or maybe it is God’s work through their actions / decisions for you. Maybe it is one of those miracles around the corner.


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