Hello Friends today is day 437 days sober, I was up in last night in to the early morning finish up the first draft of my novel. When I wrote the last sentence a sense of being proud filled my soul. I have yet to feel that way in my days sober. Just over a year ago I was sitting on a mattress that lay on the floor, stagnant in life from all the substance abuse. I had no passion for anything great, I was incapable of dreaming big dreams for myself.
So last night after finishing my first draft I wept a bit, knowing that hard work and making a conscious decision in believe I was worthy of pursing a dream that seemed to big.
Since a child I have always felt ugly. I have dark skin, I’m short and I carry more weight around my waist. I have chubby cheeks so when I smile I notice my face swell up a bit.
Low self-esteem is something I struggled with most of my life, but when I was using I was unaware of it being low Self Esteem or how to overcome Low Self esteem. Since I could remember I’ve carried a belief system that I was inadequate, unlovable, unworthy and/or incompetent. This perception comes from the interpretation of the dysfunctional behavior of my parents during my early years. I was the brunt of their anger, abandonment, abuse, neglect, and continual negative criticism or scorned.
Children know only what they are taught. My parent mistreated me and I started thinking I deserved it. I was abandoned periods at a time in the elementary school years and middle school years from both parents so I told myself I was insignificant. My parents withhold affection and love, I viewed myself unlovable. Being criticized constantly, I must be incompetent. Being abused by my parents, bullies and my molester, I must be unworthy of anything better.
My early childhood set the stage for how I viewed myself. Affecting my entire life. Basing me not on the truth about who I am really, but rather on the rejecting, inappropriate, and abusive behavior from others. Once this faulty view of self is formed it affects everything in the child’s ongoing life: my decision-making, my ambition, my creativity, my assertiveness, my choices, my dreams. In Sobriety I came to see myself in a truthful light rather than through the negative and distorted lenses create from past experiences.
Having been betrayed by my parents who were the closet to me, who I trusted and rely on, I was unable to separate who and when to trust a person. Consequently, I often trusted a person who was simply nice to me or showed me some attention, opening the door to being easily swayed, taken advantage of, and manipulated. While I didn’t trust those who were trustworthy like Vincent in the beginning of my last relationship. Over time a person really knows what a person stands for or who they really are. Time will determine if another is trustworthy.
When I was a child I developed an image of myself as inadequate or not good enough. I treated myself and expected to be treated accordingly. I was overly critical of my body. I inwardly agreed with others’ criticisms of me, I might have put up an argument against negative feedback but eventually scum to other beliefs of me. I would always reject compliments. Even criticize people who compliment me. I carried low standards for myself.
I just assumed other people see me in the same negative way. Anticipating rejection, expected to be ignored or mistreated. For the longest time I thought I deserved the abuse and would tell myself I caused the negative reactions or inappropriate behavior of others. So when circumstances or mistreats happen I would see it as confirmation of my inadequacy, lack of significance, and then engages in irrational and distorted self-statements that bring on additional negative feelings. Like I hate myself, I want to die, I wish I was thinner, I will never be anything great, even cutting myself or using substance to make me feel “good” again.
In time with recovery I am becoming aware of these misrepresentations and over time I will be able to correct them.
I always lacked self-confidence in most aspects of my life.
Not confident I would succeed in life. When something discouraging happens, I’d interpret the situation as proof that I will not prevail in my attempts to be successful. Sometimes I even try to become an overachiever (desperately driven to prove myself) and other times I remain underachiever (achieving less that I am capable of).
When I overachieved I tend not to believe in my success or having a feeling of wanting more, or thinking what I could have done better and viewing myself “lucky” and expecting success to eventually evaporate. Lacking confidences shows up in new situations where I don’t know what is expected of me. Fear that relying on my own judgment may produce behavior that is “wrong” in the eyes of others, thereby provoking disapproval.
In my past relationships (before I met Vincent) whether in love or friends I mostly choose the wrong partners , remain in relationships that are unsatisfying or abusive, remain in jobs where the pay was poor and the benefits are nonexistent. I would fear change, fear being alone, and fear my own ability to make the right decisions.
While in recovery, confidence is building gradually. Believing I am capable and to recognize success is real, I just have to believe and put in the hard work.
Habits have always been in my life some beneficial and some hurtful. One habit was projecting onto others my own worst fears. I would think I was incapable of something and believe others thought similar without any proof that this is true..
I was searching to feel better in over-spending, alcohol use, perfectionism, drug use, overeating, and sexual promiscuity, evolving into addiction. The feeling alcohol brought upon me was the greatest feeling of those other vices. It warmed my blood and soul. Stopping the negative and infected mind from pain but it also made me very stagnant in all aspects of life, love, healing, career, passion, growth etc. People had hurt me through out my life and alcohol was the connection I needed.
when I was an active addict I would make up stories in my mind about the behavior, motivation, and intent of others. what others are thinking, what others are feeling, what is really meant by the behavior of others, what is really meant by the words of others, without first checking out their perceptions. These stories are always negative-based. I would feel that people are taking advantage of me or taking me for granted, or mistreating me when it isn’t actually so. This caused a lot of friction in my friendships and loved ones. I would create scenarios that has not occurred and would act out on them. Losing a lot of friends and sleepless nights.
I would take things personal and believe my emotional reaction to be accurate. This process is a mental distortion or irrational thinking and is present to some degree in all low self esteem sufferers causing them to act on unpredictable feelings and confused about who and when to trust.
I would test the love and devotion of people I felt close to, throwing out cues as to what I wanted or needed and then expecting them to pick up these cues and supply what I wanted or needed. I would feel that others should know what I wanted and needed and get hurt when the person doesn’t do what’s expected. Setting myself up with unreasonable expectations and are often disappointments. Internally digest as the other person “not caring” or “not caring enough”.
We all come from unique early environments and the ways in which we treat others is often a reaction of how we were treated. The things we do for others are often similar to what was done to us. What we deem important in a relationship is often symbolic of that we saw and experienced with the people who surrounded us during past years.
Every one has very different outlooks on what a relationship should look like, on how those in a relationship should treated by the other. How much time should spend together, how much they should do for each other. As a result, there are often many misunderstandings in relationships concerning what each person can expect from the other and what is reasonable and unreasonable.
In sobriety, I will be able to ask for what I want and need rather than expecting the other person to just “know.” Learning how to discuss and work through problems and disagreements rather than merely reacting. I am developing basic relationship skills.
Unfortunately the reality of this world is that I will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are going to see my imperfections and judge me, some will run for the hills, and some will straight up tell me how horrible I am. I can’t hide from these facts and it will not be easy to overcome. Getting rejected for who I truly am hurts deeply than I could have ever imagined. I’ve already have had people shun me from my past addiction and even had some people in recovery shun my program, not understanding that I will never be anonymous.
While some people will look at my imperfections and run. Some people will look at them and embrace me with open arms. The feeling of being rejected for who you are may be horribly painful, but the feeling of true acceptance is indescribable. To know that you can be yourself and not have to put on an act is liberating and comforting all at once. Sober is the New Black
I Came across this video and in brought me to tears, its from a film maker Shea Glover
Here’s a song that i listen often, music helps heal the soul
Stay connected with love, Adolfo Vasquez