At a discussion meeting the other day, the topic was emotional sobriety. “Oh, great!” I thought, “Here’s another topic that has absolutely nothing to do with ME!”
Also, I don’t usually hear this subject talked about very often in meetings, for some reason. And now I know why. What self-respecting (?) sensitive, childish and grandiose alcoholic wants to talk about THAT CRAP? Not me, thank you very much.
Also, on that particular day and at that particular time, in that particular place, I was not feeling very emotionally sober. Mr. Restless, irritable and discontented. That’s me, at your service.
I realized almost at once that I wouldn’t have much to add to the conversation. In fact, it turned out that I had absolutely nothing to add. Luckily for me, that didn’t matter because almost everyone that shared did.
After the initial shock that we would be speaking about something so unrelated to ME wore off, it quickly became apparent that I possibly, maybe, could be a little guilty of this very thing! What are the odds? Good, apparently.
After some reflection, I admitted that yes, I had indeed fallen into a pattern of almost continuous emotional binging for the past while. This realization, in turn, explained my initial inability and unwillingness to hear what was being said. Suddenly, a light bulb went on over my head. No, I mean, literally, the light bulb in the ceiling came on. Weird.
You would think that my frequent temper tantrums and constant need for attention should have tipped me off, but no. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie “Inherit The Wind” where the character Henry Drummond says, “I don’t think about things I don’t think about!” Great movie, great line.
Yes, I sat through it all, listened attentively and thought, “Ok, just MAYBE possibly I have this issue. I’ll talk to my sponsor about it tomorrow!”
However, before I could speak to him, I saw someone the next day that I knew. He said something to me in passing and, to tell the truth, I am not even positive what he said, but I got the gist of it. It was a remark that was left over from a previous conversation I had had with him. And it was a put-down, a put-down that had been concocted with another person, which meant that they had been talking about me behind my back! Oh my.
Soon after the exchange, it hit me; awareness, then the shame spiral. It felt like I had been punched in the gut, hard. His joke with another person at my expense was the result of MY need to be the center of attention. Up until that point, I had always felt that someone, anyone that happened to be around me, should know every joke or thought or humorous observation that came into my brain. Pay attention to ME!
It made me sad to realize how much I depended on others for my own self-esteem. Apparently, I was only OK if I thought that YOU thought that I was OK. I know! Complicated.
I was, and still am, completely unable to generate self-esteem on my own.
And here’s the real sucky part. Turns out, if I want self-esteem, I have to do esteem-able things! No one told me about THIS!
Either that, or I am just too damn sensitive.
Yeah, THAT’S it.