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Post Info TOPIC: ESH on lack of confidence?

Senior Member

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Posts: 123
ESH on lack of confidence?

(For anyone who hasn't heard the term before, ESH = experience, strength, and hope)

I have been in the program for a few years. I go to face-to-face meetings, and have recently started working with a sponsor again. In many ways, I have improved, especially in how I interact with qualifiers.

But there is one area where I feel like I am not making any progress, or possibly even getting worse: a complete lack of self-confidence that often crosses over into total self-loathing.

I see this as an Al-Anon issue because a lot of it probably does stem from childhood interactions with my dad.

I feel like everything I do or make is inferior, I am ugly, I have nothing worth saying, I am in a career I am severely under-qualified for and other people will eventually find that out (I know this sounds like "imposter syndrome" but I keep thinking "what if I am an exception to that and I really am an imposter")... and it's very unpleasant to feel like that all the time.

Does anyone have any experience, strength, and hope to share about how the program has helped you with this type of thing and what you've learned along the way?

-- Edited by atheos on Tuesday 10th of October 2017 10:45:35 PM


Veteran Member

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Posts: 64

Hello Atheos I do believe that a gratitude list, prepared dailyy helped me to rebuild my self esteem and self worth. I started small as I could not think of any assets or anything to be grateful for and the list grew . I do continue this practice to this day . Stopping judging and comparing and speaking at meetings also helped in this process.
Good Luck


I pray that I may keep my eyes trained above the horizon of myself: I pray that I may see infinite possibilities for spiritual growth. 

~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 709

Hello Atheos,
A gratitude list, as bettyk suggested, worked well for me, too. The other thing I did was stop myself when I had a negative thought about myself. Sometimes I would write about it, sometimes just think about it. I asked myself: Why are you feeling as though you are not good enough? Where did this belief come from? If you asked a trusted co-worker, friend, or sponsor, would they see you in the same way? Do you think that this belief is accurate? (And, if I did think the negative belief about myself was accurate, I would ask what step I could take to make a positive change.) Then, I made a positive statement about myself and whatever it was. So, for example, if I found myself thinking "I am terrible at Excel" I would say "I am actually not bad with Excel, I just learned how to sum cells, and I am sure that I will be able to learn the next formula I need as well." For me, it was important to keep the positive statement based on something that I had done, something that I couldn't talk myself out of believing. And, I'd usually follow up with "Be gentle with yourself. you are doing the best you can, and you wouldn't be in this position if NAMES didn't think you had the ability to do this."



If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. - Lao Tzu

~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 896

Hi Atheos-I lived many years of my life feeling like a complete nothing, stupid, ugly, fat, and was embarrassed to speak to others because I felt so socially incompetent. Thank God those days are over. I feel your pain though, as that was me. Years of therapy helped, but the true feelings of self-acceptance and self-love have come from program. I think what helped the most for me, was a daily "asset" list I gave to my sponsor, along with a daily slogan to work on and a gratitude. When she first asked me to write a daily asset I thought I didn't have any assets, so how on earth would I do this. After several years, I had pages and pages of assets. Do I have flaws and problems? Of course! But I only saw the negative and now I have balance-I see my positives as well. If you can think of one asset each day, and it could be that you made a delicious cup of coffee, it can change your attitude. And if you can do this with your sponsor, she can come up with things you never thought of. It is possible to change and feel better, Lyne



Senior Member

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Posts: 161

There is a child psychiatrist who has a theory that when a child has a "bad" parent that they are not able to take that in.  In order to take that in, they would feel totally abandoned and feel such anxiety they would not be able to cope.  So the child assumes they are the bad one in order to survive.

So indeed what helped me to survive a childhood with a"bad" parent was what held me back in no uncertain terms as an adult.

Coming to terms with what my childhood was has been very difficult.

What was missing from my childhood and indeed my adult hood was a means to live each day.  That is to do as suggested by al anon to take care of what I need to each day with as much calm, positive and 

clear energy as I can muster.  When you are full of self loathing that is pretty hard to muster up.  Nevertheless with the encourage of several people and a resolute will to get better I did.

I can't say that I am exactly thriving in life but I do much better than I did before. The solution for me was not achieved overnight it was a series of being willing to go to a lot of lengths to get better.

There was also a sense that if other people in the program thought I was worth it, maybe just maybe I was too.

One of the things I have to have every day is a deep compassion for myself in the stress of dealing with an everyday life.  That alone is deeply stressful.  Adding on other things like trying to recover from a childhood 

which was abusive, living around or with an alcoholic tips the scales entirely.

These days when I have those thoughts of why don't I do better, achieve better, have more, have what I consider I "should" have that I deserve to be kind to myself not beat myself up continuously.

Life on life's terms is a very hard thing to embrace.  For me having a difficult childhood has been hard to embrace, what it cost me to have that kind of childhood is difficult to embrace, and moving on is difficult to embrace.

I no longer expect any aspect of my recovery to be easy but I do know that I am capable of recovering every day.



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 13719



Aloha Atheos and thank you for this post and the responses you received from the family.  Funny how things work out that you come with a need and end up helping to provide a solution to if.  That is how I learned in program as a member sitting in groups and meetings and listening with my ears and eyes to the feedback from the fellowship.  I also learned to get my responses from those who loved me including and especially my Higher Power.  I couldn't trust my own self awareness because of low self esteem and confidence and I needed to go ask those that loved me.  I learned to stop and not move and then look straight up above me to my Higher Power (I believed then that HP was above me and not next to me) and ask..."How do you see me"??.  That was kinda shady on my part cause I knew my HP above anyone loved me unconditionally and still I did it and then I would practice listening for the responses from my HP thru others at work and in my family and in the program.  I knew there were not a whole lot of liars around me and then the biggest doubter about myself was myself.  Now a days I have to keep myself confidence in check so I can allow others to practice their own.

Keep coming back ((((hugs)))) smile

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