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Sobriety in Crisis
March 18, 2020
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No More Fix: A Drug Addict’s Crisis
March 24, 2020

Your Success Equals Their Failure?

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Your success in sobriety, and life on a whole, is something to celebrate and be celebrated. When you’ve defeated a monster as all consuming as addiction, that is a major victory, and you will find that those who love, care, and support you will praise you, be proud of you, and commit to being there for you as you move into this new journey of sobriety.

But, some may find something else in their battle for sobriety. Something darker, something that showcases the pettiness and hopelessness present in some communities. That something else is a hope for your failure.

For some, your success equals their failure. This has nothing at all to do with you. And this perceived hurt that they feel as you succeed is completely in their own head and a product of their own imagination. But, in the dark place that they exist, as you succeed in your battle for sobriety, your success is somehow a direct affront to them. 

There’s a common slang that is used to label these individuals – haters. And they can be toxic to your recovery. 

However, your strength in recovery, and in lifelong success in general, is drawn from both yourself and your support group – those who love you and care about your success. When “haters” show themselves – and they always do, because they can never resist the temptation to tear you down and work toward and/or celebrate any failure – you can weed these people out; make your core group stronger.

So what is it with these people? Why are they the way that they are?

It is a sad state in which they live. Their world is constantly dark, scary, emotional. They look at themselves and they see frailty and failure. They cannot, or refuse to, see the light at the end of the tunnel, they wallow in their despair, and they envelope themselves in the comfort and familiarity of their situation. They abhor the work that it would take to change that situation. They see people like you – a friend, family member, acquaintance, whatever – and they know the old you; the one that once wallowed with them or the one that they perceived as having a mirror situation to theirs and viewed you as a kindred spirit. But, when you find the strength to begin a journey that scares them to no end, they feel betrayed, hurt, left behind. They begin to covet what you have, detest your every success, yearn for your failure, and feel personally insulted whenever your success is celebrated.

Their’s is a situation that deserves your pity, but their’s is also a situation that you cannot allow time for. 

While you are working toward your ultimate goal, especially when that goal is a sober life, you cannot afford the time that it will take to assuage their bruised ego. You are on a path that they cannot or will not follow. Your success lays bare their failings, their weaknesses, their shame. They are at a point where they will need to make a decision – will they wallow or will they strive for something more? Something better? Something like what you are on your way to right now?

You can be their inspiration, and they see and know that, and it scares them to no end. Perhaps they were a childhood friend who was always in charge. From elementary school through high school or college, they called the shots. They decided everything. And now, you’ve decided that you cannot live a life that they have chosen anymore. That scares them, hurts them. And while they should be happy, they should be supporting, they should see you as an inspiration, they simply don’t.

Until they do.

Haters do not always stay haters. Sometimes they come around, sometimes they reach out, sometimes they succeed too. And that’s the ultimate hope. Especially within our world, one so full of pain, hard work, perseverance; inspiration is needed, role models are needed. You are that, right now, on your sober journey. Whether you’ve just begun your fight against addiction, or you’ve been waging that battle for decades, you are an inspiration to others, whether you know it or not.

Life in general can be hard. Every win is worthy of celebration. And there will always be those who see your success as their failure and hate you for that.

We completely understand, Compass lives in that world too. The more successful we are in our battle against addiction, the more outstanding our team becomes, the more addictions that end within our facility, the more our own haters ask themselves “how dare they succeed where I cannot?” It’s just a fact of life.

And yet, we succeed. And we continue to succeed. And so do you. Nothing can end your success, nothing can stifle your victories. Let the voices that praise you and lift you up be your foundation, and let the voices that scold and belittle fall away. In the end, whether those who fell away will ever come back is completely up to them in their own journey. For you, success is the only option. And your success is extraordinary every day!

Brooks V.
Brooks V.
Brooks has been a freelance journalist for the better part of two decades, as well as spending a decade as a crisis intervention counselor. Through his own work and researching the work of others throughout the many facets of the detox, crisis intervention, and mental health worlds he has been able to tell the stories of those worlds in an effort to help addicts and those with mental illnesses understand and navigate them.