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Impostor Syndrome and Addiction

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon (IP), is a psychological pattern in which one doubts their accomplishments or self and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud."

We are all impostors to some extent. We all play roles in this stage of life, presenting a public self that differs from the private one. However, most with a 'serious' addiction go all the way and live as an impostor 24/7 because we have forgotten or never known our authentic selves. Early childhood trauma or emotional loss has caused us to disconnect.

We become Oscar-caliber actors to survive psychologically from their fear of abuse and abandonment. Nothing is as fearful as the constant worry that someone will figure out their sense of self-worth is next to nonexistent. For years, the self-hatred was so intense that I tried twice to kill myself because I was disconnected and spiritually bankrupt. Thank goodness the universe had different plans for me.

It's a constant pain that fueled my addiction for almost 20 years. The longer I hid, the more I hated who I was and the more I used. It's like a snowball rolling down a hill, growing in shame, dishonesty, and self-condemnation.

"Hiding and Running is a painful place." I knew something was missing because I was still relapsing in the 12 steps for years.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 "𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠"

My false belief was that men must always be strong and never share their thoughts and feelings. I believed that rejection, criticism, and abandonment would destroy me. The consequences of appearing vulnerable were too big a risk to take.

I had to be willing to do things differently. If I continued repeating the same patterns—the same shit, over and over—I would continue to struggle and fail to find lasting recovery.

I had to honestly share all my dark secrets and insecurities with a few compassionate, nonjudgmental people or continue to live in misery. It was that simple and that difficult.

𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐃𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐕𝐮𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲.

After doing so, I recognized that being vulnerable is the most courageous act of self-love. The more vulnerable I became, the more I was transformed and healed from the inside out. The impostor syndrome, toxic shame, and desire to use began to melt away. Eventually, I discovered that not only do I MATTER but that LOVE is my true essence, and I began to thrive in recovery. I have never looked back.

"It is in our vulnerability that our true power resides. If you want to be more powerful in your own life, let your vulnerability show!" ~ Liz McDougall

We have no alternative but to get real and do things differently or continue suffering from addiction.

Sincerely Paul Noiles

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