Addiction and low self esteem
Self respect = Self esteem
Last week I had the opportunity to talk with you a little bit about the meaning of RESPECT. Ultimately, in the addiction world, we have to add SELF into the equation. How important is self respect/self esteem and have I got it?
I have had the opportunity to interface with multiple thousands of people who have addiction issues or have been directly impacted by addiction. I have worked individually with hundreds. Let me make a bold statement: “I have never met an active addicted person who has good self esteem (or self respect)”.
Chew on that one.
Self esteem exercise
Go to the mirror, look the person you see straight in the eye, and see what your immediate reaction is.
If it’s less than very positive, you have a self esteem issue – no “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. What you chose to do about it is strictly up to you; but this person says you’d better get help and not self help. If you could fix things yourself, you would have already done it! Don’t kid yourself.
Mental and emotional damage of the inner child
A quote from Gertrude Stein, “We are always the same age inside”.
Most people were born mentally healthy and then they began to experience life. At an early age, we either felt good about who or what we are, or, through our environment and experiences, began to get mentally and emotionally damaged.
I don’t like to talk to those of you who might be macho about “the Inner Child”, but if you have low self esteem today, when did the seeds get planted? Again, if you are honest with yourself, things probably started as a child and you have never felt 100% about you; this has caused emotional pain. What temporarily gets rid of emotional pain better than finding escape- booze, drugs, sex shopping, eating, gambling – the list goes on?
Emotional healing after addiction
As Stein says, we are always the same age inside. I’ll take it one step farther, while we always have that child inside, IF WE take action the inner child can heal.
The road to healing begins with getting honest with our self and accepting our low self image as a start point, then having the courage to take action to change and heal. Recovery from addiction begins with making our inner child a happy center that is alive, free and full of joy.
It can be called, “finding respect for self” and “esteem for self”. They go hand in hand. If I love and respect me, would I do the abusive things to myself that I did in active addiction? Would I do the things I put myself through to people I care about? Would I wish my self abuse on anyone?
So what is today’s message?
From this person’s perspective, if you want to be free of addictions or other self-destructive behavior, the place you have to start at is taking the hard actions needed to create a YOU who You respect and hold in reasonable esteem.
Wonder how? Fire some questions; let us know you’re alive!
Photo credit: Nicolai KjÃ¦rgaard