Ego, Feelings and Attitudes in Chemical Dependency
A disease is “that which interferes with the normal functioning of an organism and is caused by environmental agents or internal deficits or issues of the individual organism or any combination of the two.”
Our egos prompt us to underestimate the seriousness of our disease. We frequently undervalue honesty and we are prone to forget our dependence upon a Higher Power, not ourselves.
As chemically dependent people, we tend to both stuff and deny our true feelings. How many of us used chemicals to deal with feelings of shame, anger, loneliness, anxiety, worry or guilt? We need to identify our feelings and learn healthy ways of expressing our emotions. Negative attitudes can undermine our sobriety. Attitudes are opinions or beliefs that influence how a person relates to someone or something. Attitudes affect our thinking about or understanding of things.
Ego Factors – We need to surrender or humble our negative ego factors:
“His Majesty” – ruler over all
“The King” – tolerates frustration poorly and lets everyone know it.
“King Baby” – does everything in a hurry or does nothing at all.
“Surrender” means to “let go”, “give in”, “accept the fact that we are powerless and cannot drink / drug safely”. “Humble” means to be “truthful about ourselves”, “honestly know ourselves for who we are and what we really are: the good and the bad”.
On our character – “self-centered”, immature, self-seeking, dishonest with self and others.
Our feelings – stuffing our emotions, we then need to drown them, deny them, to ourselves and others. Negative feelings limit us and hurt us by causing tension, shame, stress, anxiety, anger, guilt, loneliness, rage, relapse warning signs, reinforce care issues.
On our attitude – “ego maniac with an inferiority complex”, defensive, ungrateful, negative, worry that we’re crazy and don’t want anyone to know. Old tapes tells us “we are no good”, “we are a failure”, “it will never happen to me”, “I can drink / drug safely”.
On our behavior – block meaningful contact with people. Shut down, isolate, identify out – not in, equate your outsides with my insides. Defensive, argumentative, play games.
Chemical Dependency compounds all of the above negative results.
What to do about it:
Ask For Help
Become aware of the problem by being open-minded, curious about recovery, enthusiastic about recovery
Get Honest With Self
Learn To Identify Feelings
Talk About Feelings
Become more Willing to accept constructive criticism about yourself
Be responsible enough to want to change
Withhold preconceived ideas & judgments
Keep trying despite setbacks (slips, relapse, frustrations)
Don’t Use No Matter What
Recovery is an exciting way of life
Watch For Stinking Thinking
Successful clients learn to identify negative ego factors, relate feelings and change their negative attitudes to more positive open-minded attitudes.