One of the many things alcohol does for you is lower inhibitions. While I was sober, I used to keep all my frustrations about my undeserving boss all to myself. However, after my fourth glass of Jack I used to feel the urge of calling him and telling him exactly what I thought of him.
It took years of meetings and therapy, but I finally figured it out: my alcohol abuse made me believe that I was prone to become the ‘legend’ I thought I was. Yes, I strongly believed I was better than my boss and that I deserved his position. Now I know that faulty thinking was the result of an unhealthy egomania.
A sick ego is the alcoholics’ greatest problem
Commonly associated with the idea of the functional alcoholic, the ego is a constant presence in the addict’s life. Defined as the person’s sense of self-importance and self-esteem, this facet of the “self” is in contrast with the world and others. In short, ego refers to a separation from the world.
The disconnection I’m referring to is the one I felt towards the end of my heavy drinking period. It was a time when I felt isolated, alone, and severed from anyone and anything. I wouldn’t let anyone even get close, not to mention “in”, because I just couldn’t accept the reality of what I’ve become: a drunk.
The feeling that I was living an isolated and rather lonely existence was a result of an unhealthy ego. Not only did my flawed logic separate me from others, but it also disconnected me from myself. Alcohol reigned supreme over my body and choices. In fact, every time the thought that I might actually have a drinking problem popped in my head, I immediately dismissed it with pompous arrogance.
It’s all heading downhill when you’re sure you have everything under control…
When I finally admitted to myself that I have a drinking problem, I contended that I can take care of it on my own. I denied the fact that I needed help and I lashed out at everyone insisting on the subject. As I learned from therapy later on, my unhealthy ego overshadowed who I really was and kept others from getting too close to me.
It is perfectly OK for the ego to set some boundaries between you and the rest of the people. A healthy ego permits you to connect with individuals around you and doesn’t fear that the self will be lost due to the interaction. The ego doesn’t use distinctions between good and bad, but tries to see things clearly and searches for ways to do better in the future.
How will you know you’re on the right path?
The importance of a healthy ego during the recovery process cannot be stressed enough. Unless you can see things as they truly are, you won’t be able to accept the truth of addiction along with all its ramifications.
A healthy ego is able to carry a moral inventory without exaggerating and it understands the need for abstinence. Moreover, it has the ability to feel compassion and empathize with people who are striving to get and remain sober. All in all, I believe that treating your ego means finding a solution to staying sober.