I am always hesitant when I write something here on the blog. When I write, I am usually focusing in on something that is ruminating in my mind, or perhaps touching on something that I am going through. Usually, what I am going through isn’t all-consuming as I may make it seem to be. Usually, I am just shining the spot light on a small or not-so-small (sometimes) part of me that I like to talk myself through. And share with others. What I’d like to let y’all know is that these things are usually just passing thoughts. What I say today, right now, might change tomorrow. And often does. The pain I might be going through usually dissipates. What I write doesn’t define me, either way, good or bad. I think sometimes people read too much into what I write and perhaps see me in constant crisis.
It’s far from the truth.
While I might bemoan something, or get really into a topic that is sitting with me, I have to state that I am really quite happy. I have a loving family. I have a job that I like and which gives me benefits and time off and bosses who know about my alcoholism. I have a connection with Creator, and I have people in my life that care about me, and whom I care about. I am healthy. I laugh a lot. We may be living paycheque to paycheque but we are not in grave financial danger. There are some great opportunities opening up for us now. I have a fellowship around me that I can lean on and who lean on me. Overall, I just can’t complain. And yet sometimes I do still. That’s just old me cropping up.
I mention all this because sometimes I feel that perhaps I am misleading in my writing. That I seem like that I’m in some sort of critical and life-ending emotional / mental state when really I am just sharing a darker part of me, of the illness. Of my -ism. And that’s important to me, because I can’t ignore those things. Those are the things which brought me to the drink, and these days, can topple me from my emotional sobriety. So while I may not gush about all the amazing things going on with me, doesn’t mean that I am not grateful for them. Or that they don’t happen. I just think for me it’s vital that I turn my attention to those niggling things on the sidelines that want to hog the spotlight and take me away from the sunlight of the spirit. And besides, it would be a pretty boring read about how great things are going all the time.
Now. Onto post #200.
There’s a default setting within me that likes to get tripped sometimes. Like the turning off of a light, that switch can be either effortless, or like a dimmer on a timer, it can take some time. Either way, the darkness comes and I am left with an overwhelming feeling that I am lost in there. I am not talking about crippling depression or anything like that. Just an inkling of a sense that I am not worthy of being liked, of being happy, of being content. Now, I know that deep down, I am worthy, so it’s not about a sending up the flares and calling in the troops, but it’s something that my mind likes to chew on like my dog does on a squeezy toy. And like the dog, my mind walks away from it when done.
Lately, self-worth has been on my mind. Or lack thereof. There is something stirring within that is dredging up the old me, where I am not worthy of the great things bestowed upon me by Creator. This is one of those things that I understand in my mind, but often my heart doesn’t often register. I have lots of those things which are slowly making their way down to my spirit, nestled among the other things that have come to me in my short journey. In the meantime, then, I wrestle with them. Because they are in my mind, and because I have a thinking problem above all else, that is just what I do. I over-think. I sweat the small stuff. I get caught up in my own filth when there is greater work to be done. I am human, a work-in-progress.
I am doing some work on this, indirectly and directly, through my step work. Whenever I engage in my NA work, I am always brought to tears. There is no one thing that prompts it, but I know underneath those tears is healing. I am still cracking open stuff that either hasn’t been touched, or still hasn’t come to light enough. I am still unearthing things before I (try to) let them go. I am hitting the deep, core stuff as my sponsor would say. I am mining the things that once served me, but are now cancerous to me and my well being. And the whole low self-esteem and self-worth is one of those core things.
This plays out in a host of ways – self-deprecation, playing small, being too hard on myself, lashing myself, negative self-talk. I catch these things as they happen, and try not to judge the thoughts (I’ve been reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle lately, can’t you tell?) I know that playing small doesn’t do anything for me or for those I want to help. Attraction, not promotion, and as Jeff said in his comments last post, getting attention for the wrong reasons is not what we do. And perhaps that is what I do sometimes, or at least come across that way. Complaining, whining, venting. Sometimes I would think that I deserved to have a crappy life. Part of me still flinches sometimes, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead of living life the way Creator gave it to me.
And make no doubt – I have been given a second life. There is no question in my mind.
So where does this land me? In both comfortable and not-so-comfortable territory. And I am used to both. Getting out of my comfort zone has done nothing but grow me and stretch me. So it’s not foreign country. I have some fears around it, but I understand it. Getting past the idea of not being worthy is something I have done before, and will do again. What this shows me is that I am blocked somehow, and need to keep working at getting unblocked. And doing the work, doing the digging, doing the writing, crying the tears, sharing with others, etc. is where I get to unblock. Pray for guidance. Go to where I am guided. To take the leaps of faith when needed.
In the end, I think many of us struggle with self-worth. Whether it be some truncated form of survivor’s guilt, or some deep down feeling that we are inadequate or some residue from our past lives, we do struggle with it. Alcoholism demands it. My -ism still perches on that forefront of low self-esteem and perceived “value”. It draws strength from it, and deepens all feelings of disconnection. And when this happens, I feel it in my gut, but I know I will come out of this. I see it for what it is and allow myself to observe it and express it and do my best to move through it. Others will sometimes call me out on it. Sometimes I find it from within. Often it’s both. But in the end, I am stronger for it.
As I pulled up to a coffee shop yesterday to do my work, my head was still clogged with this sort of unworthiness nonsense. I was still spinning my wheels on it. I was at the cafe to do my step work, and found the usual bike racks full. I pulled around the corner and attached my bike to the first empty rack I found. After locking up the bike, I saw this sticker.
Creator has a way of showing me the way.
We are all worthy.