July 31, 2011
I’m constantly amazed by just how much those of us suffering from addictions have in common. I listened to an interview with one of Amy Winehouse‘s loved ones, the comment that caught my attention about Amy, was that she suffered from a debilitating lack of self esteem.
Sound familiar? It does to me… one of the primary defects of character that defined my drinking and using career, was in fact a serious lack of self esteem.This goes hand in hand with what is called “Personal Mythology” (the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves).
There is one area where we stand head and shoulders above the general population: we stand unchallenged at being the best at “trash talking” ourselves. Even in the light of unparalleled success, we just can’t help but feel, we aren’t good enough, and we just don’t fit in.
I ran across the following in my “psych” studies. It is not a “silver bullet” but it has been a big help in my own struggles with self-esteem. I find that keeping my self-esteem up helps me to not seek relief from the bottle.
Self-esteem is your attitude toward yourself. The more positive this attitude is the higher your self-esteem. Self-esteem can be improved.
1. Accept Yourself. Identify your strengths (everyone has them) and your weaknesses (everyone has these too). Realize that you have the right to decide who and what you want to be. You do not need everyone else’s approval. After all, it is your life and what happens in it is up to you.
2. Set Realistic Goals. Meet them by learning new skills and developing your abilities. Set a reasonable timetable; give yourself encouragement and rewards along the way (No, a drink is not an appropriate reward). Avoid demanding perfection from yourself.
3. Increase Your Control. You have control of your life. Change the attitude that things happen to you into the attitude that you can make things happen. The occurrence of certain events, such as natural disasters, may be beyond your control, but your reaction to them is very much within your control. Realize that you can control only yourself and no one else. You can control 50% of any relationship – your half.
4. Eliminate Your “Should’s.” Substitute instead the words “want” or “choose” — there are always choices. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and then decide which is best for you. Remember: in the long run, doing what is best for you is usually best for everyone concerned.
5. Become Assertive. Learn to express your feelings in a non-threatening manner. Refuse to be manipulated by others. Say,”No” when you mean no. Don’t answer questions you do not want to answer — No rule exists that you must answer questions.
6. Allow Yourself To Be Human. Accept and learn from your mistakes. Do not overreact to errors. Forgive yourself — and others.
7. Trust Yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Act on what you think is best. Do what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. No one is better able to take care of you than you.
8. Become Positive. Look for the positive side of life’s events. Negative thinking is self-defeating. Tune into your thought patterns; when you find yourself thinking negatively, stop and consciously change it to a positive thought. Positive people are fun to be around.
9. Enjoy Life. Take time out regularly to be alone with your thoughts and feelings. Get in touch with your life. Stop to smell the flowers and listen to the birds. Look at life as a great adventure.
10. Work At It. Changing self-esteem means taking a close look at yourself and changing the things you are not satisfied with. It is not easy, but it is tremendously rewarding. If you have tried, but are not making progress, consider seeking help from a qualified counselor.
Remember, sometimes the best defense against relapse is to realize that, you are better than this, and you deserve better!