How Recovering Addicts Can Deal with the Emotional Struggles of Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial type, if there is a “type,” are driven by the ideas of success: being your own boss, sharing an important message or product, or even just dreaming big and bringing those dreams into reality.

All of those things are possible, but that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurship doesn’t also come with certain emotional struggles. For recovering addicts, the struggles of entrepreneurship can even remind you of some of the situations or feelings that drove you to drink or use in the first place.

Don’t give up! Here are 5 common struggles of entrepreneurship and how recovering addicts can deal with them.


Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean not having a family, but entrepreneurship often means clocking log hours, bringing work home, and committing to a project when others might give up.

Two tips: balance and help.

Spending a dedicated chunk of time on our other priorities, such as family, even if we spend most hours at work, can make a big difference in the way we (and our families) feel about time together: quality over quantity.

The other point, that of asking for help, can be easy for some and virtually impossible for others.  Just as addiction recovery involves group therapy, successful businesses are built by groups.  Being willing to delegate and ask for help can mean you don’t burn the midnight oil every night.


Having a team in place can help with another struggle of entrepreneurship, feeling lonely or isolated.  While, of course, we might immediately think of personal relationships, professional ones can also help decrease feelings of loneliness.  Consider these ideas:

  • Find a mentor. Or several. Have people you can ask questions of.
  • Network with other professionals in your field, or your local chamber of commerce.
  • Join a service club.
  • Become a mentor to a young person or another addict in recovery.
  • Find a nearby activity or interest and attend, even if you go by yourself.
  • Stay off of social media, which researchers have found may increase feelings of isolation.

Of course, it isn’t about quantity, but quality.  Spend time on an activity you enjoy, with people you enjoy, rather than to participate in every single thing you can find.


The most famous children’s author of all time, Theodor Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss) got rejected 27 times before he published. Whole websites are devoted to the now successful people who got rejected before they made it big.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily make rejection less painful when you experience it.

Be willing to listen to input, pivot your plan if need be, but also to persist, persist, persist.  Just as addiction recovery requires self-patience and persistence, so does entrepreneurship.


The green-eyed monster works both ways: envy others feel when you experience success, which can lead them to try to drag you down, and your own jealousy when you see the apparent success of others.

The truth is, we don’t really know another person’s story. What may appear to be success may also include these kinds of struggles. Deal with yourself and others with empathy in mind. Focus on gratitude. And you may find that monster dissolving.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

The quote, often falsely attributed to Nelson Mandela, from author Marianne Williamson goes on to say,

“[W]hen we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people

 permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our

 presence automatically liberates others.”

Own your success, let your light shine, and you will thrive in recovery and in business.

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