Alcoholics and Self-Sabotage: Why Do We Do It?

December 18, 2015 Becky Doyle

An alcoholic self-sabotages when she tries to evade negative feelings and consequently creates more problems in her life (Ways to Avoid Negative Coping Skills). Alcoholics commonly self-sabotage their relationships, sobriety, and career as they try to avoid feelings they often buried with alcohol. Most of the time, they are not even conscious that they are sabotaging themselves, unless it is pointed out to them. For this reason, it's important for alcoholics and their support network alike to understand why incidents of an alcoholic's self-sabotage most often occurs around a sobriety milestone or a significant life change.

Everything I think I know about self-sabotage, I learned in the last year through practical experience. I discovered that the desire to sabotage my life is strongest when I step outside of my comfort zone and attempt to change. Change of any kind brings up the biggest fears of any alcoholic. Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of the unknown, fear of loss, I could go on and on. In my case, these fears were rooted in a deep-seated belief that I am an unworthy or undeserving person. These self-esteem issues are what led me to drink in the first place. To overcome these feelings of inadequacy, you must discover courage and confidence without alcohol.

Results of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors in Alcoholics

Reflecting upon my self-sabotaging behaviors, I realize that the most powerful learning experience for me was in my early recovery, when I was looking for the courage to change my life by staying sober. The longer I trusted the process by following suggestions, even though I felt uncomfortable or afraid, the more I began to see that facing my fears was not so bad. Life became easier as I trudged on because every time I confronted a fear, my comfort zone expanded.

Self-sabotage allows an alcoholic the one thing they most desperately think they need: control. By controlling outcomes, we have the illusion of power in our own daily lives (Anxiety And A Sense Of Control). But it is only by relinquishing control and stepping into the unknown that we can grow and experience more joys of life.

Alcoholics, Self-Sabotage and Fear Video

Image courtesy of flickr user screenpunk.

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APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2015, December 18). Alcoholics and Self-Sabotage: Why Do We Do It?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Becky Doyle

True Dewhurst
October, 7 2019 at 6:49 pm

Very very helpful, courageous & brave ..& most of all no fear,
Congratulations Becky ..keep pressing on, your worth it ..🥳🌈😁🙌🌾❤️

December, 18 2015 at 7:37 am

The problems with alcoholism is that most don't think they are alcoholics. That was me. I drank 5-8 Bud-Lights per day. But hey, at least it wasn't like a pint or quart of vodka per day as some do. You see, that was my justification--it is light beer and only a few. I'm in control. But actually with GAD and paranoia and depression, it was controlling me on a daily basis. If it was 4:00 in Idaho, where its 5:00 somewhere so lets grab a beer and celebrate with them. You either have to control your drinking, or just skip it altogether.

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