Self hatred and fear of people

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Self hatred and fear of people

Postby peace » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:08 pm

I feel more alone than ever in A.A. I could not reach out for help at the beginning, because I could barely talk to anyone. Then eventually I got a sponsor and worked most of the steps (near the end) hoping my fear of people would go away, but it hasn't - yes I've been able to stay sober but at what cost. I am more fearful now than when I first came in. I feel like I've always hated myself so much and that I don't want to live is why this program is not working for me. I don't fit in with a.a. people or anywhere for that matter. The big book is great but I find meetings terrifying and they just make me want to drink or take anything that will get me out of myself. I'm going to try other meetings. I can't share this at f2f meetings so I posted here.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:12 pm

What does your sponsor tell about actions you can take to feel better? Because, for me, it was and IS all about the actions that I take!! I do the opposite of what I fear = if I fear people I arrive to the meeting early and shake hands with everyone that walks through the door... if it is about speaking in the meetings I offer to read How it Works.

Faith is about taking the right action no matter how you feel. Get busy, and do it quickly if you really want to stay sober.

The Promise says: Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. That is a Promise that comes after the 9th Step ACTIONS. But it also says sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Progress not perfection. Content with patient improvement.

Don't quit before the miracle.

It works IF...YOU...WORK it!

Get busy living or get busy dying - if I might quote Morgan Freeman.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Spirit Flower » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:32 pm

I've heard people say at meetings that they feel like they are being skinned alive. Does not that fit how you feel? I think I was that sensitive when I had not very much sobriety and/ or up to several years. Not worth drinking over. Go deeper. Keep up that inventory and talking to someone. I've done numerous 4th and 5th on various topics. Eventually, I was silent and went thru it. I am ok now.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Lali » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:23 pm

PaigeB wrote:What does your sponsor tell about actions you can take to feel better? Because, for me, it was and IS all about the actions that I take!! I do the opposite of what I fear = if I fear people I arrive to the meeting early and shake hands with everyone that walks through the door... if it is about speaking in the meetings I offer to read How it Works.

Faith is about taking the right action no matter how you feel. Get busy, and do it quickly if you really want to stay sober.

The Promise says: Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. That is a Promise that comes after the 9th Step ACTIONS. But it also says sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Progress not perfection. Content with patient improvement.

Don't quit before the miracle.

It works IF...YOU...WORK it!

Get busy living or get busy dying - if I might quote Morgan Freeman.


I have cut and pasted Paige's post from above because I think it's brilliant advice. Also, please see under the heading "Discussion", "Incomprehensible demoralization - after getting sober" (advice that was given to Michael R.) I think there is some good stuff there that may be helpful to you as well.

Immerse yourself in AA service work and other activities that will bring you out of yourself. The Promises that are found in the BB do come true for us, if we do the work (step work, etc.). It seems that for some it takes longer than for others. IMO it's often an issue of self-esteem and some of us suffer from low self-esteem more so than others. At least that was my experience. Behaviors and feelings about ourselves that have been such a large part of our lives for such a long time before we quit drinking can take longer for some than others to overcome.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Layne » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:47 pm

Why do you hate yourself?
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby peace » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:06 pm

Layne wrote:Why do you hate yourself?



I don't know why. It started in childhood with an abusive father.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby chefchip » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:30 am

For me, AA and recovery have had one constant theme -- me doing things that are different for, out of character for, me. Spirituality was something that was totally out of character for me. Accepting the fact of my inability to stop drinking by myself was different. Opening up to another person about the worst parts of myself and my life was terrifying. Making amends, admitting my mistakes, to the people I had harmed was humbling and very new.

In every case, I had to find the strength inside myself to stretch myself, to step outside of my comfort zone. The first dozen or so times I did that there was a lot of resistance. But I remembered my promise -- to my sponsor and to myself. I promised I would never rule out any act if there was any chance at all that it might work.

As has been said, one of the strange things about early recovery and working the steps is that doing them usually unearths lots of other feelings. Usually these are feelings that we drank to cover up, because we didn't have any other way of dealing with them. But, in my experience, as I worked each step, I found new strength, new tools I could use to face life and to face my fears. The most important one of these tools has been my spirituality. Steps 2 and 3 are where they are for a good reason, that reason being that we need a solid spiritual basis to be able to deal with life without alcohol.

Self hatred and fear of people? Well, I'm not sure where you are with your step work yet, but I will say this. Once I did an honest and thorough fourth and fifth step, once I faced my shortcomings and character defects and once I started the process of cleaning up the damage I had done to other people, self hatred and fear of people gradually started going away for me. Mine, too, came from a childhood of abuse, but that is really irrelevant. What is relevant is that I just kept plugging away at the steps, creating this thing I call "my program." And it worked.

It is a process. There will be bumps in the road. All we can do is keep on keeping on, doing the next right thing. It DOES get better.

Be well,
Chip
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby shaunagus » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:36 am

I feel more alone than ever in A.A...hoping my fear of people would go away, but it hasn't... I don't fit in with a.a. people or anywhere for that matter....I find meetings terrifying....


Hiya

I might be over-identifying and missing the main gist of what you mean here but the parts I've quoted above sound really similar to my mind a lot of the time, my brain quickly and easily takes me down the road of those thoughts, and it tries often to do so. I had 43 years of learning how to think those thoughts so its natural I guess.

I find talking to people before and after the meeting heart-stoppingly scary. I am not shy in 'real life' especially in work, maybe a bit shyer in social situations but in AA meetings I clam up. Sharing is even harder. But there is that part of the Big Book that refers to us as survivors of a ship wreck and I've found myself adopting the attitude of "you're letting me onto that f*ck*ng lifeboat no matter what". So I make myself talk to people, it's often so stilted I walk away thinking "what a disaster" but not always.

So if it helps in any way I am trying to remind myself not to believe everything I think. Just because I feel I don't fit in, that people don't like me etc it might not be true. It might be true but it might not. But i cant trust myself to know one way or another. My mind plays tricks on me. I dont think I am alone in that.

My mental, physical and spiritual health (and what else is there?) relies on me feeling comfortable around AA people and so I am going to work really hard at getting to a point where I do, and make it my business to get to be friendly with folk rather than waiting for them to make the approach. Yes I wish it were the other way around, but as chefchip says "it is what it is".

So again apologies if I over identified there but just wanted to share my ESH and parts of what you write resonated.

Thanks

Shaun
Last edited by shaunagus on Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby ann2 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:30 am

Thanks Shaun. I too am terrified :) funny huh? The recovered part is that I can assess the danger and laugh at the fear.

I spend a lot of time laughing. It's ridiculous.

Ann
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Layne » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:01 am

peace wrote:I don't know why. It started in childhood with an abusive father.


You don't have to believe the things he told you.

You don't have to believe the things you have told yourself in the past.

I look at myself in the eyes every morning in the bathroom mirror. Not just my reflection, into my eyes. I give a few seconds for any swirling noise from the chattering monkeys in my head to subside. I soften my features as much as possible because I have a very stern countenance. Then as I look into my eyes, I think "you're a good man". I give a few seconds without breaking eye contact to let it sink in.

This was hard to do at first because I was fighting old tapes playing in my memory banks. I can now do it without biased judgement creeping in or sending me false information, because at my core, I am a good man.
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby TonyWARMS » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:42 am

Acceptance is the key here.
Crazy as that seems, you have to accept the fact that what ever happened can't be changed.
But, you have to move on for sanity's sake.
To let it fester inside forever will never make it stop.
This is about you, now.
You have to stop giving your father all the power, as he can't hurt you anymore.
Keep telling yourself that until you believe it.
It can happen.

Peace, Tony
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Droopy » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:35 pm

Hello Peace -

I am grateful to AA for my continued recovery from alcoholism but after six months of weekly meetings I still felt something was missing. A friend mentioned that an Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting might be of help. Another meeting was the last thing I wanted but my father was an alcoholic so I thought I would at least check it out. At the first meeting that I attended they handed out the Laundry List which is a list of charactistics of adult children of alcoholics. I identified with many of the characteristics and knew I was in the right place.

Some of the characteristics are: We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures; We judge ourselves harshly...; We have stuffed our feelings from our traumatic childhoods... (The complete Laundry List is available at the web site for adult children of alcoholics; url removed per forums policy, please see the Links topic in the Start here forum and pm poster for reference if needed--ann2) I realized that although alcohol was a huge problem in my life, my dysfunctional behaviors preceded my alcoholism and needed to be addressed. It was as if I had cut down the tree of alcoholism but the root was still there. If you leave a root alone it can start growing again so Adult Children of Alcoholics has helped me get to the root of my own problems.

The ACA website has a lot of good information and a list of meetings. My area in central Minnesota also has some Al-Anon meetings that are specifically for adult children (instead of spouses of alcoholics). The author Janet G. Woititz has written a great deal on adult children of alcoholics and she has a similar list of characteristics.

Good luck with your recovery - droopy
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby Brock » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:15 pm

I am of course pleased that Droopy found what he was looking for at the adult children of alcoholics meetings, however I think many of us also reach a stage where things feel like there are not improving, it gets stale, or as he says “I still felt something was missing.” It is my belief that when this happens, we need look no further than the AA steps for an answer, remember that all of us have problems other than alcohol, from page 64 end of step three, with highlights added by me :-

“Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little
permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous
effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves
which had been blocking us. Our liquor was
but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and
conditions.”

To get rid of the problems other than alcohol we look to steps six and seven, and in my own case I found that proper attention was not given to these steps, so I was stuck in a rut, not drinking and fairly happy, but not getting any happier- my defects were blocking my advancement. And only by identifying these shortcomings and really working on them, was I able to move forward once more. There is a very good book called “Drop The Rock,” which works on these two steps only, it seems that many of us don't take these two as seriously as we should.

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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby chefchip » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:35 pm

Brock wrote:To get rid of the problems other than alcohol we look to steps six and seven, and in my own case I found that proper attention was not given to these steps, so I was stuck in a rut, not drinking and fairly happy, but not getting any happier- my defects were blocking my advancement. And only by identifying these shortcomings and really working on them, was I able to move forward once more. There is a very good book called “Drop The Rock,” which works on these two steps only, it seems that many of us don't take these two as seriously as we should.


Brock,

I'm not sure that truer words have been spoken re: steps 6&7. Too often, I believe, we rush those steps, if we even notice them at all. We make erroneous assumptions that if our character defects and shortcomings are harmful that our higher power will remove them. I know people with decades of sobriety who are still horrible people precisely because of this attitude. But in my opinion just as our obsession to drink took effort on our part, our other issues do as well. As I tell newcomers -- there is no magic bullet, no magic fairy dust. Damn it.

I think this is one of the reasons that our programs don't end with our first pass through the steps. Once we finally have victory over our alcoholic obsession, other stuff comes up. Stuff we had covered up with our drinking. Maybe even the very reasons why we drank the way we did in the first place.

Every time one of these shortcomings/defects comes up I have a choice. Face it, without fear, or continue to let it ruin my life. If I face it I usually learn something about myself. If I don't, I give my alcoholism a reason to hope it might be able to rise from its grave.

Thanks for reminding me of that,
Chip
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Re: Self hatred and fear of people

Postby ChefSimone » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:25 am

Hi Peace :)
I know what it's like to hate yourself. I have been living with that hate for 29 years. Only by going to rehab recently did I manage to find out why I hated myself so much and quite honestly it was one of the most powerful and emotionally draining and awakening experiences of my life. I read Letting go of shame by Ronald Potter-Efron and Patricia Potter-Efron. Grief is one of the many things you'll have to do by letting go of your shame, write an angry letter to your father.. a REAL angry letter. No matter how long it takes. He had no right to treat you like that and give you the message that you don't belong, is not good enough, or don't deserve to be happy or that you are dirty or disgusting. Because you are not these things. You are not your father's mistake's and you shouldn't have to pay for them. And even if he has apologized or is no longer with you, you are still the one carrying it inside like a rotting apple bound to infest the whole bunch. You are going to have to return borrowed shame to your father.. And please give this book a read. It saved me from myself.. I have way more self love than before.
I hope this helps
Much Love
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