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Lack of Self-Esteem in Alcohol Recovery

“I’m sober; but when I look around at other people, I realise I just can’t measure up. I’m not pretty and I’m not smart. I feel like I’m always on the outside looking in.”

It’s the nature of the alcoholic to feel inadequate. Sometimes they feel inferiority battling superiority (the ego). While alcoholics underestimate themselves, they usually overestimate others. Other people are happier, better looking, smarter, more successful, richer, and more talented.

Alcoholics use alcohol to make themselves feel better and to numb feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and low self-worth. They use alcohol to substitute for good feelings about themselves; to cover up what they see as their inadequacies, to paint themselves a personality that they believe can’t exist without this help, to turn themselves into someone else. Often they tear down others in order to elevate themselves on a false pedestal of superiority.

Part of the work of recovery is to rebuild self-esteem, to learn to accept yourself as you are, and to know that what you are is good.

The following tips can help:

  • Keep in mind that all you have to do is stay sober for one day – that is, 24 hours, and you keep repeating this every morning when you wake up.
  • Understand that alcoholism is an emotional disease coupled with a physical allergy to alcohol. You are not a bad person – you are a sick person.
  • When you write in your daily journal, be sure to list the positives and strengths as well as weaknesses.
  • Be responsible and accountable for your daily actions.
  • Keep your word – to yourself as well as others. You can’t respect yourself if you let yourself down.
  • Learn the difference between self-respect and selfish, self-centeredness. Determine what your values are and examine them to see if they are healthy. If they aren’t, rebuild them first; if they are, live by them. If you don’t, you can’t respect yourself and others won’t respect you.
  • Surround yourself with people you respect, who care about you and accept you for who and what you are. People who won’t be taken in by, or even interested in, the false you.
  • It’s a good idea to say you are sorry to anyone you feel you have hurt during your drinking years. Don’t rush in and say “sorry” to everyone. Think about it first then make amends to people without hurting yourself or others.
  • Keep your goals realistic, which in early recovery, means very modest and then work hard to meet those goals. This is not the time to take risks. Staying sober one day at a time is your goal each day.
  • Accept that you are human and like everyone else, can make mistakes. But don’t leave it at that. Put those mistakes to work for you learning what you can from them so they won’t be repeated.
  • Like yourself – you deserve it, especially now. Show it by the way you care for yourself, in the way you eat, exercise, dress and treat yourself generally. The more you act as though you like yourself, the more you will.  There is an old saying in AA:  fake it until you make it!
  • Before you act, don’t ask yourself “What will others think if I do this?” Instead ask “What will I think of myself if I do this? Will I respect myself more? Or less?”
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Everybody’s different and each of us has the potential to be wonderful in our own way. We just have to find what that way is.
  • The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous will provide you with guidelines for living.

If you don’t want to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, then contact Wendy Perkins, Specialist Addictions Counsellor, at www.couragetochange.com.au or counsellor@scoastnet.com.au and work the Program privately in your own home.

There are many resources available to the alcoholic to help him or her achieve a successful sobriety. I have seen many ladies over the years that are still sober today. How do I know?  They keep in touch with me on a regular basis. They have adhered to the program they were first introduced to when they commenced counselling. They also take their amino acid supplements, including Tyrosine and , to help balance their brain chemistry.   L-Glutamine supports efficient brain function and is the body’s most potent antioxidant and detoxifier. Tyrosine is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood. I also recommend Magnesium Ultra Potent to help them reduce stress and assist with a deep and restful sleep without having to use drugs or alcohol. LivaTone Plus supports phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways, ensuring optimum detoxification of many toxic substances and also supports liver function and metabolism.

Contact the writer if you have any questions about alcoholism. Wendy Perkins

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