Sunday, December 17, 2006

Between you and me ...

I've got this problem and I don't know how to handle it.
If I talk about it, then it's all about me and I don't want to be self-centered. But if I don't talk about it, I'm not following your instructions about recovery.

I plummetted right back into my selfish isolating yesterday. I had breakfast with Scott and Matt and even mentioned it to them. I thought maybe things would level out if I told them. But it just got worse. The day wore on and so did my mind.

The problem is that I have no problems. Maybe I am now in the position of needing to create a problem when there's not one. I hear people talk about self-sabotage.
I'm sober and active in AA.
My Mom is seriously ill but I do all I can for her.
I'm relatively healthy; don't even have a doctor.
I'm retired; no work problems to deal with.
I have money and no debt; no problems there.
I have the love of my life returning home; that's all good.

What I don't have is self-esteem. That's what I've identified as the problem. I know in my heart of hearts that you don't want me around. It doesn't matter what you say because I know you are just being nice. You're a nice person, so of course you'll say the right things to me. But if you have a choice, you don't want me anywhere around your space. So I try to stay away as much as possible without going into isolation.
I show up where I am supposed to be. Physically I am there. I go through the motions and try to hide my true feelings. I don't want you fretting over me and wasting your time. But you don't know what's going through my head. I will leave you alone (when I can get away with it) because I know you don't want me to invade your life.
I am passing up attending a number of Christmas parties because I know that you only invited me out of a sense of obligation. Or just that you're a nice person. You don't really want me there. So I sit at home or go to an AA meeting, wishing I could be like others and knowing that will never happen. And when I feel this way, I don't want my negative vibes to rub off on you, so I avoid you even more.

It's a viscious circle. And a dangerous one.
Hopefully, it's one that will pass. It always has before.
So now I have laid myself out there, warts and all.
I also know that I'm a good person (relatively) with good intentions.
I've been praying a lot for a solution.


Trish G. said...

Hi Dave, Thanks for being so brutally honest. I can relate to this degree of stinking thinking. For me, it can be paralyzing as well as lonely.

I've found that my mind works hardest at sabotaging me when I have a lot of free time. Meetings are a good defense against this, but I can't camp out in AA 24/7.

Perhaps getting out and getting active in a new arena that stimulates your other interests would help. Service work of any kind always improves my overall health. And if you would like to walk some dogs...


Did you take the "Thinking Test" I posted about yesterday? Don't think.....don't go into that neighborhood.....Mr. Roger's doesn't go into mine. Fuck WTF am I talking about - you - team. Keep praying.

Scott W said...

I know how painful this is for you, and thank you for trusting me by telling me what's going on. Yesterday I offered that maybe it would be a good thing to seek professional help and after thinking about it and praying about it since our chat yesterday I am sticking to that thought. There are marvelous medications out there for depression. There seems to be a link between self esteem and depression and it seems they do not know which leads to which. I am no psychoanalyst, just a concerned friend. I hate to see you in such pain, and this thing just keeps rearing its ugly head.

This article seems very informative and I think is worth a look.

There are lots of us, Dave, that are there for you and many of us are just a phone call or a visit away.

You referred to this situation being dangerous, don't wait too long to address it.

Anonymous said...

i'm with scott... professional help... it's doing wonders for me and david... it's amazing how much you'll listen to someone's advice and suggestions when you're paying them... and, it's damn good advice...

Mary Christine said...

I would call you Daave, but I know you hate to talk on the phone. I would also tell you how much you mean to me, but you would think I am blowing smoke up your a**. My brain does the exact same thing to me, but I try to remember that it is my ego attacking me. I have found that working with others will help me where nothing else can.

Tab said...

I am pretty sure our self esteem issues are all part of our recovery journey.We tend to leave this one to deal with until we absalutely have to because it is a baffling issue for most of us Daave.
But perhaps you are now at that stage in your journey to explore it more trust your instincts on how best to do that..and trust those good pals of yours too!

As for your Mother being ill..that is a very difficult reality in its self.I understand that one very well.

What are your holiday plans with Hayden?

Scott said...

you know my friend,I say "this too shall pass..." an awful lot. Perhaps this is not something that should pass but, something that should be worked through to the best of your ability and faith. A lot of the things you noted that "aren't problems" are external things... With regard to that, it's not that you have no problems, you simply have no external chaos. It sounds like dAAve's not in agreement with some sort of universal principle, something oh, like the importance of self love or maybe you've not forgiven yourself for something major? For me, I tend to isolate (especially from AAs) when I am living in a manner that isn't right, or doing something I shouldn't be. So, maybe there's something there... Or, maybe you just need to remember that God/HP didn't make no junk, and He forgave us all long ago... that we need to forgive ourselves.

I dunno dAAve,I am just making some stabs in the dark, things that crept up in my recovery over the years. Whatever the case, you're doing by sharing with those of us who love you for exactly who you are. You'll work through this, you have to!

peace dAAve!

ZANE said... mentor
I really hate to hear the pain in your posting. I hear the same things, as you know only too well,
and you have helped me through the
depths of several crises in the last 28 months. Scott definitely has some solid advice. Please take it. Do whatever you need to do to get throught this. But Do GET THROUGH IT! I have a book that is titled "How to survive the loss of a love" I have a copy of this book for you. I have read it so many times and like the big book I
always find something in this book
that helps me. I bought this book when Vic dumped me. I have hung onto this book during my 16 years of therapy and it a part of my recovery of life. To me the name could easily be "How to survive the cost of low self esteem" Please try giving some of the love and friendship that you so eagerly give to others to YOURSELF! You my friend are a huge part of the foundation of the fellowship of life. Lean of the rest of us for awhile, we certainly have on you. You are LOVED and worth every bit of that LOVE. Let yourself open to some of your own love - you certainly deserve it.
Love You,

Jim from Florida said...

Hi Dave,
Long time no visit-
Glad to see all is well, I am fine too! Castor is gone- I got an e-mail saying he passed.
Jim aka Pat

craftylady said...

You do have lots friends out in the big world you can talk too or be with. I've been where you are and have come through it (ok with the aid of a few pills and an understanding doctor) but you will come through. It also helped me by doing some charity work with people who really appreciated the time I gave them.

Give my American mum a hug for me and let her know I am thinking about her.

When does Hayden arrive or are you already camped out at the airport?

Redhead Gal said...


it's so strange how are perception of self can be so skewed. It's obvious from reading your blog that people DO value you and want you in their lives, that you are a valued friend with a wonderful view on life and killer sense of humor. Yet, you cannot see how attractive that is. I never miss a day reading your blog, it's the only one that I visit on a daily basis. And I don't HAVE to just say that as you don't even know me.

I think the suggestion of professional help is an excellent one.

You are loved, dAAve. Even by those you have never met.

Anonymous said...


My sponsor, my friend, my mentor. Have I told you how much working with you has changed my life throughout the past 11 months of sobriety? Depression is usually a chemical problem that can be remedied with medication. Good luck on your quest. And, thank you for taking the time to come visit with me yesterday, even though you probably wanted to stay home. That says a lot about your character and trust in a Higher Power. I love you, Dave!

Your Sponsee,

Anonymous said...

Good post daave. I've said it to you at least 2 times already! but I would put it down to a belief of being unlovable. (I prefer that term to 'low self esteem' as I think its more accurate). Similar, mind. Just not quite the same. I keep meaning to do a proper post on it as I have found this applies to quite a few aa's I've met, but it takes quite a lot of explanation, plus I have a lot of other time commitments at the moment, so its difficult, so I haven't got round to it. I can explain better verbally, but seems you don't like phone calls. Shame. The offers there if you want. I'll pay for the call! (It always helps me to try to pass on what I've learned, so you'd be doing me a favor). Just for the record my way of dealing with this requires neither therapy or medication. With very respectable recommendation for that reasoning. Anyway. Hang in there dave. You're in good company with this mental 'glitch'. This is a pretty common thing you know. You are NOT a freak. It's just the 'luck of the draw' what neurosis you end up with.. Nothing more.
I will see if I can find the time to put together the basic elements on a post on this subject. it will give me something to think about! as I haven't tried to organize my thoughts in their entirety on this subject. Dealing with this is do-able though. trust me!
Right I better be off to do some study, but thank you for your post. Good work!

Meg Moran said...

I know you....hell, some days I "am" you....thanks for leting me know I'm not alone on the bad days, neither are you.

AAwoken said...

Once read that change comes when you stop trying to change.
My two cents....

Designer Girl said...

An alkie with low self-esteem??? You've GOT to be kidding! Seriously, dAAve, I think a lot of us first drank to mask or make up for our low self-esteem. If you're depressed as a result (or vice versa, as Scott W is saying), DO seriously consider getting professional help. If you need medication, it's because you have a chemical inbalance in your brain. If you were a diabetic and needed insulin, you'd take it, wouldn't you? To me, medication for mental disorders falls into the same category. There's no shame, and a great deal of courage and dignity in taking care of our bodies and minds the way we should.

And, I don't know you IRL, either, but I sure as HECK love you!!! xoxo

piglet said...

Dude. I cannot imagine life without your comments on mine and other's blogs. You are SUCH a talented communicator.

I think my "it" started to rise up around 3-4 years sober. It is when I begrudgingly went into therapy and they diagnosed me with depression and OCD.

I do know that when I reached out and people were there it felt completely freakish. I'm backwards like that. If you are mean to me, it means you like me. If you are nice, it means you want to take something from me.

I was completely touched by your honesty in your post.

I was warned that "it" starts up again around year 10 (altho, mine started a little later). The oldtimers to be extra cautious and stay close to the herd.

Quitting smoking brings up the crazies indeed. You are doing all the right things (based on what others suggested for me to do) and ya just got to keep on trudging.

Getting sober isn't a guarantee that we'll feel wonderful. It does guarantee that if we stay the course, our lives will become even more beautiful than we could've ever imagined.

These are the times in which we become closer to God.

Feel your feelings, but don't let them be in charge. Therapy has been a wonderful companion to my recovery.

xoxo to you :)

Sam said...


thank you for your regular visits to my blog. i wrestle with this thinking, too. sharing such things helps me know i'm not the only one. thank you for sharing yours.

one of the most memorable and touching bits of sharing i've heard in a meeting came from a man i would've been afraid to be around in his using and drinking days. he talked of how he stood outside of a biker bar, holding his beer and trying his best to look tough enough. this man is, without a doubt, tough enough... at least he looks it. i've never felt tough enough or looked it.

now in your sharing, you've told me that, though you seem to have it all together and life is good, there's something wrong in how you feel. i feel it,too, but i'd never have known it is in you without you telling it.

another example of how our sharing helps us know we're not unique...

glad you keep coming back.