To say that many men who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs suffer from low self-esteem is an understatement. But what does that really mean?
We talk about the egomaniac with the inferiority complex – a term with which many men in recovery seem to identify. This is the idea that at the same time I think I am God’s gift to women I also think I am unattractive and no woman would ever like me. Vacillating from vanity to self-loathing; arrogance to lack of confidence. For men especially, the front that we put on often belies the fear and insecurity hiding underneath. Many of us have a soundtrack running deep inside of us telling us we are useless, unlovable, or some other lie. For me, my perception has always been a bit off. The problem is that I have listened to that soundtrack and even sought it out for far too long.
Nothing positive comes from the times we dance with self-pity much of which is rooted in our excessive focus on ourselves. And it may surprise you to know that one of the most arrogant acts is when you see yourself as useless. When we make ourselves useful, despite any voices telling us that nobody likes us or wants us around, we conquer the feeling of uselessness. When we focus on others’ needs before our own and are grateful for all that we have, especially another day of recovery, we conquer the feeling of self-pity. I can always find something in my life that is missing; someone who has more than I do, seems to be more successful, or who I think is better than I. But, I can only find those deficiencies if I look for them.
Each of us has a purpose in life, but our addiction made it next to impossible to know what it was. When I have gratitude for another day sober and look back at the incredible life that I have been given, there is no way I can feel sorry for myself. When I look at how I can be of service to those in my life and stop worrying about me and my petty annoying peevish problems, I see how those thoughts of uselessness and feelings of self-pity are nothing more than a lie. As you free yourself from your addiction, you have, at last, a chance to find your true purpose in life. When I focus on God’s will for me and how God wants to use me there is no way I can see my life as useless.