We turned to drugs and alcohol because many of us suffered from low self esteem. We,thought that by taking a substance, our feelings of being less than would go away. Perhaps it initially worked. Over time however, we found that using substances actually had the opposite effect. They only magnified our feelings of not belonging and of inferiority.
In early sobriety these feelings still dogged us. Upon reflection, we realized that these feelings of inferiority pre dated our substance use. Just giving up our drug of choice was not enough. We needed to become comfortable in our own skins. This meant accepting ourselves with all of our defects of character. For those of us who were perfectionist, this was often a bit of a challenge. In the past, we bent over backwards to get the approval of certain people because we believed that their approval would validate us. As we grew emotionally and spiritually we came to see that validation could only come from within. How we felt about ourselves really wasn’t dependent on anyone save ourselves. Over time we began to let go of our desire to gain the approval of others. We “were enough”, and at the same time we strove to improve ourselves.
Personal Reflection: Do I still seek the approval of others?