Imposter Syndrome in the workplace isn’t a foreign concept to most of us. Getting that plum assignment and after the initial rush of joy the fear sinks in – I’m not good enough to get this done, why in the world was I assigned to do this? Turns out, this syndrome of self-doubt isn’t exclusive to the professional world. It can also creep up on you as you work on your sobriety.

The guilt and shame that accompany recovery can be devastating. You can end up becoming your own worst critic, telling yourself because of what you’ve done you don’t deserve to be successful, to be sober. You tell yourself you’re less than and unworthy of praise. And certainly there’s the fear of starting over, starting your new life with new friends and new circumstances. As you look around, you may perceive all the other people as successful and convince yourself that’s not you, that you don’t belong. How could you possibly measure up? How can you possibly maintain your sobriety? You’re such a fraud.

Ah, the lies we tell ourselves. All that self-doubt welling up, not feeling worthy of living a clean and happy life. Don’t allow those lies to be your undoing. All that self sabotage is stressful, and detrimental to your psyche and your sobriety. You can choose to let up on yourself and begin to believe in yourself.

Start by taking stock. Even if you feel your substance misuse has stripped you of everything positive in your life you’re still here and that is the first and foremost thing for you to be grateful for. Writing in a gratitude journal will help you develop a practice of appreciating the good. Use it to set your good day intentions in the morning or to help you wind down at night. Look around, and be honest with yourself about all you have. List all the good things no matter how seemingly insignificant. You may surprise yourself and begin to believe that you’re more worthy than you think.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There is no shame in asking for help especially when it comes to your safety and sobriety. Share at meetings, work with a coach, companion or therapist and be honest. You may be fearful of how you’ll be perceived, then surprised by the acceptance you receive. Keep in mind that everyone’s recovery is uniquely their own. It’s your own new learning curve and it can take time to find the place where you feel accepted for who you are right now: the sober, struggling person who is working toward building a better life. Incorporate a patience practice to your journaling. That can help you to reflect on overcoming the pitfalls and appreciating the accomplishments that are all a part of your new life.

Leveling out and finding the right balance as you experience sobriety can be a challenge. But you’ve already met the greatest challenge, getting clean and sober. That may well be one of the greatest accomplishments of your life. So when you start thinking you’re a fraud and that everyone’s going to find out you’re a fake and an imposter please remind yourself that nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve already won. You got sober and there’s nothing fake about that.


If this sounds like you, someone you know or someone you work with, The Recovery Coach NY provides individual and family coaching, companions & transport, Intervention and emergency services for you and your loved ones. For more information and additional services, go to our website:



The Recovery Coach NY has years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find the path to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.


You can reach out to Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach NY via:

Phone or text: 631-921-4085

Email: [email protected]

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