As I want to work on this forgiveness aspect of my recovery I am realizing I have been doing some wordsmithing and jumping over the work that I ultimately need to do. Forgiveness is an act of love, right? I haven’t been able to really think about how to forgive myself for what I did while drinking because it is so tied up with why I drank in the first place: seeking acceptance while self-loathing. How do I forgive myself for hating myself?
When I think back to my family, how my identity formed as a teenager, I came to think of earning love through achievement and that turned into love through competency. I am competent. And when I’m not I have no value. Sadly, I truly believe that, and then I’m resentful of it. Even in my marriage I see elements of this: I take care of the bills, travel, dogs, etc., and that’s how I earn my love, through being of use. When I was in high school I thought if I were to be an animal I would be a worker bee, a fucking drone doing my part to keep things in order among the other faceless masses. Useful, needed, uncelebrated. How uninspiring.
I have created a divide within myself through the façade I have used for decades of a successful confident woman. “Fake it until you make it” has worked well for me to get hard times, and I fake it all day long, then cry myself to sleep with self-loathing, anxiety, and overwhelming fatigue. I carry resentment toward people who I have felt I had to earn my love with them through my achievements, but I set it up this way. I know that I have isolated myself from true connection by acting the part. I have thought, “you don’t really know me, you know what I have shown you. If you did really see me for what I am me, you would hate me.” How do I get at that to pick it apart?
How do I get at that? Writing this out. Asking for help (don’t know how to do that yet). Talking to my inner critic and cultivating a better dialog with myself about myself. This is the work at hand to reconstruct my self-worth beyond a function for others to use.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp