One Day at a Time in Sobriety

Good morning and welcome to this rainy day, if you are in the San Francisco area… It is the rainy season here in the Bay Area, and I am not fond of the rainy weather. Oh dear, we are just at the beginning of the season. How will I make it through? I will make it through one day at a time, just like my sobriety. I accumulated 12 years one day at a time.

It is our tendency to want change to happen to ourselves and our situation right now, but that is not how things work in sobriety, or in life. Things evolve, they happen slowly when it comes to changing ourselves. My sponsor once told me everything in my life was going to shit because God was breaking me down to nothingness so He could rebuild me in all my glory, all my worthiness.

So, all the old messages and beliefs that I was worthless needed to be dispelled. I needed to learn to see myself with eyes of love, and the only way to do that was to strip me of all the old messages that I was no good. I was brought back to the past for the purpose of healing from it so I could move forward in the present. The only way to do that was one day at a time.

Then, each day was broken down into one action after another, a day of doing the next indicated thing, and then the next, and the next, and so forth, until the day had passed. It was difficult to get through some days, and sometimes, all I could do was take a nap or go to bed, even at 6 pm, for example.

If you are contemplating sobriety, or are in the middle of sobriety, you can adopt the philosophy of taking it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. By doing this, you allow yourself to see your past, the old messages of worthlessness, and you can begin to build upon the ashes that have become your life. Emotional pain may be needed for a time, and that will disappear as you replace it with good feelings about yourself, as your situation improves, one day at a time.

My suggestion to you is to start taking it one day at a time, doing the next indicated thing to do throughout that day, until the day is over and you can start over again the next day. Make plans only so they can move you forward, but let go of the outcome and be flexible with your plans, wants, and desires. Try not to live in the past or the future, but squarely in the present day.

So, tell me, how are you doing with living one day at a time in sobriety? Leave a comment and let us know how you do that and how it works for you in your sobriety.

 

Share

Overcome Worthlessness with Grief Recovery

It is with a great deal of experience in the area of worthlessness that I write today. i.e., it is something with which I am quite intimate. You see, every day or so throughout childhood, I was called worthless, told I would never amount to anything. I grew up and flew the nest with that belief firmly stamped into my deep sub-consciousness.

This is how I started the blog that I planned to post yesterday. It ended up being 950 words, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to post such a long one, filled with a great deal of personal experience that I thought you’d find boring. I was afraid it would be too much. Confused, I took no action…

Interesting. I wonder how much of my inability to edit it down has to do with the effect that feelings of worthlessness have on me today, which make it difficult to speak about it without getting carried away. In other words, I believe that I still hold some feelings of worthlessness and they come up for me from time to time. Oh, I have made great headway. Example… in days past, I would forget to post, or not get to it, and I’d feel like a failure, worthless. I no longer go there.

Enough about me. At least you understand why I didn’t post yesterday and I hope you returned today for the post on worthlessness.

Before I write about that, I want to acknowledge all the Veterans who are reading this post and say thank you for your service. You have made a sacrifice that will affect you for the rest of your lifetime, and I want you to know that I recognize that, and am especially appreciative of what you did to help our country.

On to our topic… Webster defines worthlessness as being without value, without merit or worth. Worth is defined as that quality of a person that lends importance. I believe that we each have something of importance to bring to the world. I believe that at our core, we are each inherently good people, filled with worth.

Even though I believe this, I struggle some days with feelings of worthlessness, days in which I feel of no importance or value to anyone or anything. On these days, I have to consciously talk myself through it, reminding myself over and over that when my father called me worthless, it was a lie. Also, I consider that he said it, but meant it about himself, not me. I find I can them go to the affirmation of “I am worthy and worthwhile.”

I know the feelings of worthlessness I hold go deep within my being. So it was with interest that I decided to get help through this. An opportunity came along to be coached in a grief recovery program. What I have discovered is as expected… continued feelings of worthlessness, the grief from the feelings of worthlessness. I never even thought to look at what losses I endured as a result of those words. So I have been looking at that.

The losses I’ve identified so far are loss of self-respect, loss of all beliefs that I am a good person, loss of a positive image, loss of ability to receive acknowledgment or  compliments about me and my work. I imagine more will surface. Next, the process involves allowing myself to feel those losses, the grief from losing those things. I then make a choice to let the worthless feelings go.

The next part of the grief process involves choosing one person with whom I wish to get closure, to put to bed my feelings of worthlessness. I, naturally, chose my father and his calling me worthless all those years.

As I explore my feelings, I come to a place of forgiveness for him. I get there by realizing that he was a wounded person when he said that, and I feel compassion for his woundedness. From that place of compassion, I have been able to reach forgiveness for him.

My assignment for the week is to write a letter of closure, putting to bed my feelings of worthlessness, breaking the connection of my father’s words with my current-day reality. I will be working on that today and tomorrow, so can report back on what I discovered through the process.

What about you? What wounds have you endured in life that have led you to develop feelings of worthlessness? Take a look at that/those and see how it/they manifest in your life. Then, identify all the losses you have experienced as a result of those feelings of worthlessness. Allow yourself to look at them, to feel them. Acknowledge the hurt you felt every time you were told you were worthless, or whatever it was that led you to develop worthlessness.

Then tell yourself that is not who you were or are at your core, the center of your being. Step outside of yourself for a minute and picture your outer self smiling to you, the real person. Smile with great knowingness that you are a person of great worth, with value to share with the world. Smile with deep belief and understanding that you are filled with worth and value, value to yourself and to others. When you slip into worthlessness, return to that place of knowingness. Gradually, you will find your feelings of worthlessness are fading away.

Well, I have managed to write another long post today, and I’m going to let it stand. I’ll return, hopefully tomorrow, to let you know how the letter-writing went. Remember your mantra for the day… “I am a person of great value and worth.”

 

Share

Getting Past Feelings of Worthlessness

Corner of Worthlessness

The beginning of the book deals with four difficult emotions, the next one being worthlessness. For me, this was a feeling that I was about as good as a pile of debris in a corner, just like in the photo to the left.

It was one of the things I drank over, heavily, not only because of the bad feelings, but because of my resentment at the person who called me worthless so frequently. I was looking to drown or numb the sting of the feelings of worthlessness – the pain of hearing it, thinking it, living it. 

I did not know how to rid myself of these feelings, so I drank. It was a vicious circle… I drank cause I felt worthless and wanted to feel better, and then I felt not only worse, but depressed, as well.  It wasn’t until I discovered my life’s purpose that this all changed.

It also wasn’t until I had been sober for a few years that my feelings of worthlessness diminished. I won’t pretend to tell you the feelings disappeared overnight… they didn’t. Rather, it was 5 years into sobriety and I was still having difficulty with these feelings. Then, a miracle happened. Here’s how it played out…

I felt worthless and great despair over the fact that the pain of my upbringing was for no good purpose except to bring me down, to lead me to failure. I saw no purpose to my life and prayed to God to let me die because I was too afraid of committing suicide.

Then, one day I was at a support group and I listened to a man share about his pain, which was very similar to the pain of things I had dealt with and healed from. So I went to talk to him, and was able to relay books to read and even gave him my therapist’s name and number.

He was so grateful, he cried. As I walked to my car, I realized that my history had been of use to this guy. If I had not experienced it and suffered as I had, I wouldn’t have done healing work, and I wouldn’t have known resources to give to this man. Suddenly, I saw my difficult and painful childhood as a benefit, a plus.

In that instant, I realized my life’s purpose was to relay to others in emotional pain the information I have gained along the way in my healing process. I had a purpose, my life had a purpose! The feelings of worthlessness and despair lifted and were resolved right then and there! Yes, worthlessness creeps in there occasionally, but I am able to dispel it quickly, and to regain my sense of worth.

Do you have feelings of worthlessness over which you drink? Have you thought that your worth lies in the help and service you can give and be to others? Think about it, for there is a lot of merit in the thought that your life has had a specific purpose all along… that of healing from your wounds so you can help others heal from similar ones. Does that help with your feelings of worthlessness? I hope so…

 

Share

Feelings of Worthlessness

We move through the book to the second topic – feelings of worthlessness. Webster defines it as to be without worth or merit, useless, of no value.

To have worth, it is your quality that lends importance, value, and merit. It is measured by the esteem in which you are held by others.

Corner of Worthlessness

Corner of Worthlessness

Feeling worthless is not a comfortable place to be. When I used to feel that way, I felt like a pile of rubbish in a corner… a heap of debris.

Why do we feel worthless? It comes from being told so or shown we are not valued. In my case, I was repeatedly told I was not worth anything, so I began to believe that.

Perhaps the actions of someone in your life translate to you that you are not valued, have no merit. As much as is possible, do not let their actions get you down.

It is hard to get past feelings of worthlessness, yet, it is possible. One way is to do esteem-able acts. Do something nice for someone else. Not only do they appreciate it, but you will feel self-worth for your actions. Keep doing that, over and over. 

Reflect on how you came to feel worthless in the first place. If it was because of being told that, then consider the source and what they were experiencing.

For example, I realized that I did the very same thing to my boy friends that was done to me. I used to get drunk and scream at them that they were worthless. When I remembered that in sobriety, I was horrified! I realized I was saying it because I felt that way about myself.

Hmmm. Perhaps the person that told me I was worthless said that to me because they actually felt it about themselves. That was the corner I turned to start to come out of feeling worthless. Still, though, it is one thing to wrap your mind around a “cure” and another to get your heart and soul in alignment with what your mind is telling you.

What really cinched it for me was the discovery of my purpose in life, or what I consider to be my purpose. Once I figured that out, I felt worthwhile, I felt I had something of value  to give others, and my feelings of worthlessness dissipated. Very occasionally, I go to that place when things are discouraging for me, yet I don’t stay long in that space because I remind myself of my purpose and why I’m here.

I hope that you, too, can conquer these feelings of worthlessness. Maybe the examples of how I recovered from feelings of worthlessness will help you.

It is not necessary to feel them and the fact is, we are each valuable and worthy in our own way. Believe that for it is a Truth. Each of us has a unique gift to give the world. It is just a matter of finding it. I wish you well.

Share

Overcoming Feelings of Worthlessness

As we move along in the book, we come to the second topic, that of feelings of worthlessness. These first four topics are accountings of the difficult and challenging spaces in which I lived, prior to moving forward in my journey.

The Feeling of Being Worthless

Corner of Worthlessness

I have learned, and feel quite certain, that it is necessary for me to acknowledge and feel those difficult emotions. It allows me to then grieve them, and to move forward in my heart. Such is the case with my feelings of worthlessness.

Many people do not feel this emotion, which always amazes me, for much of my life I felt worthless. I thought it was something everyone experienced. I believe it stemmed from the many messages I received that translated to my worthlessness, not being worth anything.

I say “stemmed” because I no longer feel worthless. But, as the verse that accompanies this photo says, I felt like “a heap of broken debris in the corner.”

How did I overcome those feelings? First, I got sober and began to feel my emotions acutely. That was very painful and difficult, but I stuck through it anyway, anxiously awaiting the day I would feel better.

Second, I thought about the messages I had received and from whom I had received them. Not to be judgmental, but I realized that that person was emotionally and spiritually sick themselves, and I asked to be shown the way to be useful to them. This led me to compassion, which then led to forgiveness.

So, I had to honestly consider all the ways in which I was told or shown that I was worthless, and objectively consider their truth. What I realized was, the messages were an assault to my Being, not true at all.

Even with that knowledge, however, I still had the feelings of worthlessness. Over and over again for quite a while, I told myself that what I’d been told were lies, not the truth, that they were the words of a sick individual.

For me, it took time and continual awareness of those feelings of worthlessness cropping up. With the awareness, came the consciousness of their falsehood, their slight against my Being. I reminded myself again and again that is not who I am, that worthless does not describe who I am.

I began to write in my journal about my worth, with my left, non-dominant hand, and all sorts of things poured forth in support of my worth. I kept reminding myself of these points when I slipped back into feelings of worthlessness.

Then, one day, I just stopped feeling worthless. I began to feel I was worth something, shyly at first, but worth something. That feeling has grown slowly and hesitantly over the past few months, until one day, I could say aloud, Carolyn, you are a person of great worth! What a freeing realization that has been for me!

So, I say to all of you who have feelings of worthlessness that you are actually a Being of great worth and value. You may not feel convinced, yet, over time, perhaps you can discover that it is so. If you’ve healed from feelings of worthlessness, what worked for you? Please share it so it can be useful to others.

Share