Before I got sober the title to this post was something that I never thought about. I was not conscious of the fact that my ego was attempting to kill me and that allowing it rule my perception of reality was a dangerous thing to do. I believed everything that my mind told me because after all I had no other information to refute it and so I allowed my ego to drive me to the depths of despair, the likes of which I hope never to return to. There are certain components that are vital to healthy recovery program. Confidence is important for anyone coming in with low self esteem. Just like willingness and acceptance are keys to sobriety I personally feel that confidence should be included as how can you truly learn to be comfortable in your own skin without confidence.
Once in sobriety, I learned that as one sign I saw in an AA meeting said, “My Ego Was Not My Amigo” and I began the lengthy process of beginning to discern between my ego and the actual self-confidence that I had. This was not an easy task and to be honest to this day it still confuses me some. I find that I always seem to err on the side of caution try to practice humility.
This often times leads to me to reject good feelings that I have about myself or causes me to not enjoy my accomplishments as much because I am not sure where to draw the line between having self-confidence and having a big ego or the opposite of no ego. Doing, this however, does not really serve me well and it does nothing but cause me to further struggle with accepting myself.
For instance, let’s say that I accomplish something at work and it really makes me feel good. I will often times struggle with whether or not I can share this with anyone because I am afraid that I will come off a braggart and that it is just my ego talking. While questioning yourself is never really a bad thing, the fact that I do even question it means that I can’t really enjoy my accomplishment for fear that if I do it will go directly to my head.
The longer that I have stayed sober the more that I have realized that there are certain ideas in AA that I have taken to unhealthy extremes. One of which is the idea of staying humble and not allowing my ego to take over. I have taken this idea to the extreme that if I even begin to think that I am good and worthwhile, another voice in my head instantly dissuades this with a “be careful Rose, don’t want to get to full of yourself.” Since I do not want to go back to drinking I often listen to this voice and don’t allow myself to stay in a space where I feel good about whom I am.
Doing this has caused me to struggle with my self-confidence because after all, it is difficult to be confident in yourself if you are constantly cutting yourself down to size out of fear. So what I really want is to just be okay with who I am. Have self-confidence enough to own my accomplishments and not be so afraid that my ego will take this is as a sign that it can take over again.
I would like to eventually get to a place where I am somewhere in the middle, where I don’t believe myself to be the best or the worst, but just understand what my real worth is.
Basically what I am talking about here is getting to a place of self-actualization.Self-actualization is an idea that was put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his Theory of Human Motivation. To a certain degree it is what everyone in sobriety is after and as Maslow put its, “Self-actualization is the tendency for an individual to become actualized in what they are potentially.” This means understanding who you are, what you are about, what your worth is, and then acting and thinking accordingly.
I don’t know about you, but I no longer want to fear my ego and I no longer want to play small for fear that my ego will surface its ugly head again and take control over my life. I want to be more confident in the things that I say and do and not be so driven by fear of others and what they may possibly think. I know that this is a process and that in time I will shed more broken ideas, which will allow me to become more confident in myself, but sometimes having to wait is annoying.
So I think to answer the initial question posed by the title of this post,the place to draw the line between ego and confidence is with the truth. If the confidence that you feel about something that you did is based in reality and true, then that is all right, but once you start to drift in illusions of grandeur, you may be at risk of operating out of ego. As I get to know myself more with continued sobriety I will hopefully be able to draw this line more clearly and arrive at the conclusion of confidence or ego more quickly, without all of the mental gymnastics I currently perform to get there.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.