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Low Self-Esteem and Alcoholism

My skin crawls, I start to sweat & my entire body tenses up.

That’s how I feel almost daily if I don’t have my go-to crutches or safety blankets so to speak.

Im talking about my issue with insecurity, self-esteem and low self worth. Whatever you want to call it, I’ve come to realise just how much of a daily struggle it is. Let me give you a few examples of situations that trigger me to illustrate.

  • People (especially men I’m dating) seeing my face/ body/ skin in general if I didn’t have any makeup on in the morning etc.
  • People (especially men I’m dating) walking in on me when I’m not expecting it.
  • People (especially men I’m dating) seeing me look stupid or undereducated in something.
  • I question my abilities to do certain things when I’m in a relationship. Even riding a bike. Yes I know. Mental.
  • Walking down the street.
  • Asking for things.
  • Accepting things. List goes on.

As much as all of the above makes me feel rubbish, I can’t imagine it’s a very good feeling for those around me either. Especially boyfriends. My knee jerk reaction to feeling triggered is fight or flight. So I can either end up snapping, withdrawing or come across really cold until it subsides. It doesn’t usually last very long either which I imagine to be really confusing.

On the flip side there are some situations which you would have thought would cause anxiety that dont – and for this I thank my ‘fake-it-til-you-make-it’ approach that eventually just becomes part of you.

  • Dating
  • Meeting new people
  • Walking into social situations solo. Less so when with a partner.
  • Being open AF

Luckily with age a lot of insecurities start to fade or lessen but a fair few still remain. It doesn’t take a detective to work out that I have some issues around men. I put them on a pedestal to an extent and feel inferior. Not all the time and not in every instance but there is definitely a pattern.

Don’t say it

Don’t say it

Don’t say it

Daddy issues. Ha. Classic.

Perhaps. But whatever the cause just being aware of it is a good start. Looking back I have always known about my low self-esteem to an extent, but I tackled it in a really unhealthy way. Either being really avoidant of those triggering situations, or using alcohol for example.

A lot of recurring stories from fellow recovering alcoholics talk about being a shy child and wanting to fit in. So as soon as we discover this liquid confidence of course we’re going to grab it with both hands! And so it becomes a learned behaviour, a habit. And we never really have the chance to develop our real social skills which is so core to who we are as individuals.

Woah deeeeep mannn.

But good news, I have an awareness around this now and I’m not going to run away from the uncomfortable emotions when they pop up next time. My damn skin can crawl all it wants. My starting point is going to be to talk about it with my therapist, with friends, partners – you. Talking helps, let’s do it some more.

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