Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

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Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby essgee » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:55 am

Hi all, I am Sarah and I am an alcoholic.
Newly sober, have made it 12 days.

I am having these punch-to-the-gut awakenings, I never would have had them in active drinking. Like many, I use alcohol to numb myself. I am just now waking up to why though, my self esteem is so low. I had no idea. I always thought I was confident and other people would probably say the same, but I'm not.
I'm in the middle of a break up with a total loser. Lives on disability (but scamming the gov...) he was a total
Freeloader and treated me like garbage. He's not even attractive and dare I say is boring in bed...
He would do the typical threats of suicide or harm if I said I was done. He stole from me (single mom), gave me std's... lied, cheated...

We've all heard stories like this so I don't need to go into every detail.

Every time the dude told me he loved me I would run back. And within days it was horrible again,he was screaming and I was drunk. Always drunk, to cope.

In sobriety, I am wondering if I used him as a way to keep drinking.
The dude is trash, but I stayed. Was this relationship my excuse to drink?
I'm having so many swirling thoughts, mostly that I can't BELIEVE I let someone treat me and my kids like that. But I did. Why? My self esteem is so low. This dude kept it that way and that feeling of worthlessness was one I almost craved. Like I needed it.. and I did, because I used alcohol to numb it. In my mind, I had a free pass to drink because my life was such sh*t. But really... no one was keeping me there but me. I have no financial ties (other than the thousands he owes me), no legal ties and he is not the father of my children.
As much as he used me, I am wondering if I used him as a reason to stay actively drinking.
Does this make sense to anyone? Or am I way off here...
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:00 am

Dont look for reasons you drank. See if you can relate to the obsession/insanity. When you wanted to stay stopped, you couldn't. That is the key. And when you were dry, were you emotionally ok? Were you restless, irritable discontented.... you could add more stuff to it... And you went back to booze or led back to sooth the pain. Thats the key.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby essgee » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:11 am

I'm not saying he's the reason I drank, i don't know if I'm making my point clear.
I am an alcoholic, no doubt.
I think I put myself in harms way time and time again, and rationalized my drinking .... because things were "so tough".
When really, I was the one making things tough.. by making bad decisions.

I've made many attempts to sober up.. and would end up self sabotaging. And it always started with me reaching out to him. Then things would get bad and suddenly I was drinking again.

These realizations are important to me. Identifying my habits will hopefully help me identify when I start to self sabotage.
My alcoholic brain says "do this... it's a good idea" (reaching out to him or other chaotic people in my life)
And there the cycle begins. Every. Time.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:22 am

Those are base root patterns we log on the inventory. That will give you clarity. If thats what led you back to the same person, on your next relationship, if you decide to have, don't repeat that. Thats what we are trying to become aware off.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Mike O » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:13 pm

I know exactly what you mean.

For me it was, among other things, I'm a musician trapped in the body of a dentist...of course I drink!!! Eventually, I saw that these weren't reasons, but excuses. Now, looking back, I see that I could've done something about such issues years before I actually did, without too much effort...if I had really wanted to.

I think you also can see that now, as you reflect in sobriety. But, it doesn't matter... why you drank doesn't really matter at this point. You are clear in the realisation that you have an alcohol problem. Move on with the programme. Start living in the solution.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Noels » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:41 pm

Hi Essgee and well done again on your sobriety so far.

my self esteem is so low. I had no idea. I always thought I was confident and other people would probably say the same, but I'm not.

Seems like this is a common problem and not just with alcoholics. For some reason people just cant seem to accept people exactly as they are and in the end we all end up with so much pain. We really are idiots yet we somehow think we are the cream of the crop in the universe. mmmmm..... newsflash :)

I'm not saying he's the reason I drank, i don't know if I'm making my point clear.
I am an alcoholic, no doubt.
I think I put myself in harms way time and time again, and rationalized my drinking .... because things were "so tough".
When really, I was the one making things tough.. by making bad decisions.


You are doing really well right now. Please be careful as once we start looking for possible reasons why we drank we might just be questioning whether we are indeed alcoholics or rather whether we are ready to stop drinking. May I suggest you keep you thinking to the limit and just concentrate on attending meetings, working the program and enjoying the happiness on your children's faces because mommy is sober. All will come as you get some more sobriety time behind you. This is a lifetime commitment so there's no rush to find all the answers today.

I've made many attempts to sober up.. and would end up self sabotaging. And it always started with me reaching out to him. Then things would get bad and suddenly I was drinking again.

There's one of your answers right there - the PPP. Stay away from all people, places and play things that remind you of drinking, where drinking is taking place or where you can possibly get a drink.

Start filling your mind with good thoughts and good things will come to you. The whys and hows can be dealt with as you work the steps with your sponsor. Just for today, fill your heart with gratitude and pride in yourself that you have been sober for almost 2 weeks. THAT is an achievement you can be proud of and hold onto.

Thank you for sharing. I enjoy your posts.

Lotsa love and light
Mwah xxx Noels
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Duke » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:13 pm

Low self-esteem arising from a fear of abandonment/rejection was a common theme in my inventory of my defective emotional responses to life. Revealing them for what they are and committing to use the principles to deal with them going forward has been a critical part of me gaining some semblance of emotional sobriety. Understanding was a critical step.

Value the insight. It will be very helpful to you going forward.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Lali » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:12 pm

essgee wrote:Hi all, I am Sarah and I am an alcoholic.
Newly sober, have made it 12 days.

I am having these punch-to-the-gut awakenings, I never would have had them in active drinking. Like many, I use alcohol to numb myself. I am just now waking up to why though, my self esteem is so low. I had no idea. I always thought I was confident and other people would probably say the same, but I'm not.
I'm in the middle of a break up with a total loser. Lives on disability (but scamming the gov...) he was a total
Freeloader and treated me like garbage. He's not even attractive and dare I say is boring in bed...
He would do the typical threats of suicide or harm if I said I was done. He stole from me (single mom), gave me std's... lied, cheated...

We've all heard stories like this so I don't need to go into every detail.

Every time the dude told me he loved me I would run back. And within days it was horrible again,he was screaming and I was drunk. Always drunk, to cope.

In sobriety, I am wondering if I used him as a way to keep drinking.
The dude is trash, but I stayed. Was this relationship my excuse to drink?
I'm having so many swirling thoughts, mostly that I can't BELIEVE I let someone treat me and my kids like that. But I did. Why? My self esteem is so low. This dude kept it that way and that feeling of worthlessness was one I almost craved. Like I needed it.. and I did, because I used alcohol to numb it. In my mind, I had a free pass to drink because my life was such sh*t. But really... no one was keeping me there but me. I have no financial ties (other than the thousands he owes me), no legal ties and he is not the father of my children.
As much as he used me, I am wondering if I used him as a reason to stay actively drinking.
Does this make sense to anyone? Or am I way off here...


With everything you said about this guy, maybe you need to now look at why you are "in the MIDDLE OF a break up". Why in the middle? Why not done? I don't like to give relationship advice but I will now because this guy is holding you hostage by threatening suicide. He probably isn't suicidal at all, but if he is truly suicidal over a relationship then he will always find a reason to be suicidal. It's not on you. It's not your problem. Move on.

Perhaps you are right that you used this relationship as an excuse to drink. But that doesn't really matter. I know that as an alcoholic I could come up with a million reasons to drink. On the other hand, I didn't even need a reason - I just wanted to drink.

I, too, struggled with self-esteem issues. Once I dived into service work which took my focus off of myself and onto others, I began to feel good about myself. I suggest that you begin stepwork if you have not already done so and attend a lot of meetings. While you are at a meeting, look around and see where you can be helpful. Make coffee, pass out books when at a book study, clean the kitchen after the meeting, seek out another newcomer and speak to them.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby essgee » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:35 pm

Lali wrote:Perhaps you are right that you used this relationship as an excuse to drink. But that doesn't really matter. I know that as an alcoholic I could come up with a million reasons to drink. On the other hand, I didn't even need a reason - I just wanted to drink..


This. Thank you. It's true and that quote puts it into words better than I am able to right now. It's always something. There is always a reason to drink. Right now though, this is my current situation and my current excuse.
This was my wake up call. My actions and choices causing harmful situations and thus, giving me excuses to drink.

I never saw it until now (the brain fog is slowly clearing) and I'm just beside myself.
I seek out these garbage people. Whether friends, family members or romantically. Then I glue myself to them, wonder why my life is in heaps and drink to numb the pain of it all. I actively seek misery.

This guy will be old news soon enough, and if I didn't make this connection I am sure I would repeat the same mistake over and over, and keep myself in this cycle of drama to support my need to numb out with alcohol.
Life really isn't that hard, I'm making it hard.


All of you, thanks. I am new to AA and to sobriety, so I am not program savvy just yet.

Language is important here - by middle of a break up, I meant that he is no longer living with me, no longer spends time with me but I haven't gone full no contact until recently.
There are still some loose ends to tie up.

He is the lowest hanging fruit and I am so disgusted with myself for allowing that to happen.

The silver lining here is that I clearly see why I did it and continued to do it. I am admitting my powerlessness over alcohol. I am seeking sobriety in AA, and I never want to make the same awful
Choices again.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:11 pm

essgee wrote:My actions and choices causing harmful situations and thus, giving me excuses to drink.


Excuses are just excuses.

One very common theme I hear in AA meetings is "I would have sold myself short". Low self-esteem, low-spirits, is a common factor. Alcohol itself is a depressant, it's just so hard to see it that way when we're drinking.

I simply drank to escape the depressing reality that my life seemed to be when I wasn't drinking.

Therein lies the rub. Drinking is not my problem. It never was. Not drinking ... now there's the real hell of alcoholism. I never needed AA to figure out how to stop drinking, I'd been doing that on and off for years. I came here to learn how to stay stopped, how to live sober.

I never want to make the same awful Choices again.


Newsflash: you will make crappy choices in sobriety. The difference is that you'll learn from them, gradually make them less-frequently so long as you're on the right path.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby positrac » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:16 am

Good points and the good news is time heals our screw ups and if we work the steps and follow AA we will learn to deal with life on life's terms. If none of us ever made mistakes, had terrible judgment and any and everything else then we'd never need AA as we'd never become addicted to Alcohol.

It is good to post online as you have cover from the community. I would strongly recommend getting involved in F2F meetings and find another women who has what you want and see if they will sponsor you. Ask if they are being actively sponsored and give it a go as you need to rid the guilt and remorse of things to get better.

Have a better day and try to think of something less stressful if you can.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
Hopi Proverb
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby clouds » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:56 am

Hi Sarah! I think you have a lot of insight into a pattern you've used to justify to yourself its ok to drink. Good work. You are getting more and more honest by the day! Keep going with it. Seeing our excuses and how this insanity keeps us in our cups is all part of Step One which is coming into your consciousness presently. I still advise meetings, meetings and trying to seek out a sober woman you can trust that you can talk to. Begin reading the book 'Alcoholics Anonymous' (which you may already be doing) and when you get questions you can talk those over with someone from the AA groups or by phone. I'm so glad you saw your way to begin a new life.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby tomsteve » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:24 am

"In sobriety, I am wondering if I used him as a way to keep drinking.
The dude is trash, but I stayed. Was this relationship my excuse to drink?"

I cant answer that, but something im convinced of is that im only attracted to someone as sick as myself. I was an egomaniac with an inferiority complex- I felt I wasn't worth anything better than someone as sick as myself.
crazy thing?( actually, insane): I had gotten into a couple relationships with sane, mentally healthy women and sabotaged them- made it so they tossed my ass to the curb. still think that was the best move they made as I was only gonna drag em down with me.

heres something to think about:

ok, it was an excuse.
now what are ya going to do about it?
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby Reborn » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:16 pm

It seems to me that you have taken good affirmative action in removing this person from your life. I'll tell you like my sponsor told me...Stop over analyzing and thinking about these things(easier said than done) and get busy working the steps. I remember early in sobriety when the fog cleared I started to see all these truths about me...and it was overwhelming at times. That why it is important to keep things right sized...and get into action right away. Like someone suggested find someone who has what you want to get busy...nothing changes if nothing changes.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Low self esteem/alcoholism, the cycle

Postby RosieF » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:03 pm

Hi, yes, I definitely think you're right. I was in a similar place myself. The fact is, the longer you're sober, the stronger you become and the better you feel about yourself, so the less you believe what losers say or need to rely on them. eventually you'll notice that all the people in your life are good for you and your kids :). Totally a matter of self-esteem. You won't need crutches like alchohol, bad relationships or religion once you can rely on yourself.
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