"Barry, I want you to say three good things about yourself." The words of my rehab counselor June Qualy gave me that instruction in group and it struck such fear in me I thought I was going to go into vapor lock. Three things! Self-hatred had left me with nothing in my esteem account. I came up with three things, but they were lies as far as I was concerned. They were true and I could reach outside myself for documentation in case anyone wanted to dispute my selections, but I didn't believe them.
Low self-esteem, self hatred: they are the rewards of addiction. Try controlling drug use, try quitting, try and fail at it often enough, and the feeling you're worthless flowers like some evil alien plant. Stop the drugs, get clean, and make no other changes, the self-hatred and sense of worthlessness continues growing unchecked until your disease uses it as an excuse to climb back into the chemicals or simply end it all.
Benjamin Disraeli once wrote, "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." That is valuable advice for a person to do for him or herself, as well. In doing your Fourth Step Inventory, remember to list all of the good that you are. It will be hard at first. The disease tells you that evil people and crazy people have no place in recovery so they may as well continue using. And the disease wants you dead. But how do you fight back?
Take a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and write at the top: "These are my riches." Then list them. I could make suggestions, but the answers have to come from inside you, not from somebody else's list. What are your riches?
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