I remember a time, back when I was fairly new at sobriety, and I dated a nice non-alcoholic lady psychologist. We had talked on the phone previously and decided to have a date by going out to lunch with each other. Everything was going rather nicely until she mentioned something about alcoholics. She said "alcoholism is often the result of alcoholics that hate themselves." Wooh nellie! I had learned in AA (miss-guided learning) that our problem was "we loved ourselves too much". And that "non-alcoholics do not understand alcoholics".
So, naturally, I informed her of my brilliant intelligence, and how wrong she was!
That was our first and last date and I never talked to her again. I lost complete interest in her.
The funny thing is: years later in sobriety -- I came to believe that this lady was totally spot on! At least, in regards to my case, she was totally 100% right! I had a self-hatred thing going on for many years all throughout my drinking. Some of the things that I had said to myself, names that I called myself during "self-talk" and the destructive behaviors had originated mostly out of self-hate. And, the self-hate carried on into my sobriety -- but, I was totally unaware of it!
I also discovered that much of the problems that I had with God in the beginning, was over my self-hate and the fact that I did not like myself -- even though on the "outside" I was convinced that I did like myself and even loved myself too much!
I had spent most all of my time trying to rub out the records of my own transgressions against others by making amends in full, of course, I never did forgive myself or let myself off the hook -- even after I would make amends. I deserved the punishment, right? I was the bad guy!
And, in other situations that I attempted to amend, where I obviously wasn't the bad guy -- I'd convince myself that "well, I wasn't the bad guy in those situations -- but I was the bad guy in so many other situations, I deserve to be punished!"
It wasn't until more than a few years later in sobriety -- that it really began to sink in. I hated myself. I still, sometimes conscious, but most often unconsciously -- I was punishing myself, even in sobriety. Even after having taken the Steps, a few times, even after sponsoring others and spending all that time that I could arrange in dedicated "being of service" activities.
As I look back on it today -- I can see that probably what was going on is, all the "good" that I was attempting to do -- was "lifting me up emotionally"... yet, at the same time, the deep self-hatred and not accepting myself nor forgiving myself was "bringing me down."
So, most often I would be "mid range" in my emotions, until I let up on extensive efforts to "be of service" to others.
In a way, it was like putting bandages on bleeding wounds. The bleeding wounds were infected and releasing all kinds of "emotional goo" and my efforts to do right, to do good and be of service -- was simply covering the infected wounds.
I had already begun using the 12 Steps on particular problems -- like, when I got so angry at someone I could have ripped their head off -- sober!
I'd re-take the Steps on the anger. Example: "I am powerless over being angry -- (because of my anger) -- my life had become unmanageable. Then, I do specifically Steps 2-12 on my anger in that situation. I would get relief, it would be removed, I would get better.
Then, one day, I got the idea -- how about trying to use the 12 Steps on myself -- "my self hatred and anger at myself"? Well. It worked. The Steps ALWAYS work when I use them!
My sober-suicidal type depressions went away and they haven't returned.
Periodically, I can still fall into depressions -- but I can see them coming on and I know what they are about. It's most often because I've formed a dependency (or resorted back into one) for particular emotional, or "esteemable" type interests. And, my spot-check 10th Steps immediately clear them up.
Thanks for letting me share.