I think self-pity is an amazing topic. I just thought of something today that I may have come to realize as a combination of different things I’ve heard in AA and advice I’ve been trying to adopt.
It’s kind of a serious matter, this not taking everything so seriously business!
For me, I’ve used self-pity for rather destructive reasons. I’ve found that I’ve used it to go back to drinking and to self-medicate, of course.
By why do I buy-in to my own excuses? Because something’s not up to my standards or I haven’t progressed the way I wanted to… I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, basically.
Self-centeredness leads to the depths of self-pity. And I’ve also used self-pity like the stage actor. It’s a strategy I’d developed somehow to portray myself as this defenseless victim, being the one who’d been knocked down by life and was helpless, basically.
But these were also working as a kind of manipulation on other people; I see that when I look back at what I did. An unintended manipulation, perhaps. But I definitely did influence people that might have been spared their energy if I were to have composed/asserted my self-care.
A lot of times my helplessness was communicated for attention and as a request for aid, and it never really felt good to fuel that. But in desperate moments, it felt like crying outwardly was the only thing I could do.
Having been trapped in active addiction, I wasn’t feeling like there was anyone close to me I could admit that I was an alcoholic to. It turns out, what I actually wanted was to identify and share an acceptance of my alcoholic admission with another person. This didn’t happen much later until I’d actually started meeting with other alcoholics — Go figure!
And since then, I’ve been making it a priority to spend time deliberately with the kinds of people who understand alcoholism, like I do.
So, today it helps me get to a point where I look at self-pity as an indicator that there might be something deeper going on that I ought to address.
Either, A: I’ve just have gotten so far away from the gratitude and the service work and the fellowship and the community that I’m just feeling lonely; it’s just one of those loneliness triggers.
Or, B: I might be somehow by trying to influence a situation based on my real or imagined self-pity. I seem to be capable of generating and finding a way to display my pain with a self-seeking motive. And that’s how far I can take it. That’s how twisted I can be.
The more I really work on the Steps in our program and developing a better relationship with all, all the better it is living in Recovery.
So thank you, for letting me share.