The core belief I want to talk about today is a little bit of an enigma in that it requires a certain amount of awareness, already, about who we are as a person. Somewhere along the way, we decided that people did not like who we are at our core and figured the only way to be liked was to not be ourselves. The reason I say enigma is that awareness is a big part of our recovery and this core belief shows that we are, to some extent, aware but that awareness is actually inhibiting our growth rather than adding to it.
To unravel this enigma we have to look at another core belief buried within the original core belief that nobody will like the real us. What is it about ourselves nobody likes? The easy answer is to do what my ten-year-old son likes to say when asked why he did something wrong, "I don't know." Yes, you do. We all do, but it takes a little work sometimes and it's not a fun type of work either. But, until we figure out what characteristic we hold that we believe turns people off, we will most likely never get past the belief that people do not like the real us.
Nobody will like the real me
I think the easiest way to approach this belief is to look at what we are projecting out into the world as the 'fake' us while we are drinking, using, and engaging in whatever addictions that keep us from living our true lives. Once we acknowledge our 'fake' selves, we can then look at who we have surrounded ourselves with that 'likes' our 'fake' selves. From there we can determine whether or not we are the type of person we want to be and whether or not we have surrounded ourselves with the most supportive and healthy community for our growth.
The 'fake' me. The fake me comes into focus when we take into our body something that alters the way in which our body and mind normally work. This alteration comes in many forms but some of the most visible is as follows. We are most often seen with glass, can, or bottle in hand steadily feeding the mind-altering substance into our body. We protect that drink like it is the very essence of our lives. While drinking, we can often be observed speaking loudly and out of turn. We like to interrupt other people's conversations because the mind-altering substance has made us believe that everything we have to say is more important than anyone else's. Sometimes, in mid-sentence, we lose our train of thought and freeze like a deer in the headlights as we try to remember what the hell we were trying to say. If you are lucky, you will also be able to observe the slurred speech that comes along later in the evening after we have lost all semblance of mind-body control. This is generally followed by stumbling, swaying, or a general lack of ability to maintain a proper standing position on our own. In the best of circumstances, you will certainly witness our saying something we will regret, doing something that hurts ourselves or somebody else, or at the very least, breaking something. All of which, meaning the entire night, we will feel bad about the next day but we will tell no one we feel that way because we are certain that version of ourselves is better than the 'real' us.
My 'fake' community. First of all, we do not really believe that is the person we think people like more than the 'real' us. But, it is important to recognize the importance of thinking we believe such a thing. Whatever got us to that point, it is easier to believe something as ridiculous as that, than face the circumstances that led to the eventual decline of our self-worth. Who are the people who like that version of ourselves? They are people in the very same situation as we are. They have lost their true selves too, and are hoping we like them in the same way. There is one definitive proof in the art of change. If we do not change our environment, we will not change our behaviors. While we may love the friendships we have built over the years, we also need to accept that not all friendships are beneficial to our growth, especially in sobriety. It is scary to think about rebuilding our community, but I assure you, there is a large community of people out there who will like the 'real' version of ourselves better than the version we thought we had to project.
The Real You
What does the real you look like? If you have not yet begun your journey it may be difficult to visualize what the real you look and feels like. It has probably been a very long time since you have been that person. Here is one way to try and visualize the real you. Take the scenario above of the 'fake' you; yours may be different but you get the idea; simply flip it and imagine the opposite. You are an aware individual who is part of a conversation with other aware people. You are articulate when you speak and you are able to offer insight into the conversation. You are healthy and maintain a strong posture because you are confident and sure of yourself. You go home at a realistic hour and get a good night's sleep so you are rested for the next day. You awake and feel no regrets and even have some positive memories of the evening prior. When your friends see you the next day, they say hi, ask how you are doing, and truly care about your answer. You are a part of a caring and supportive community and you are proud to be a member.
The real you is a badass and you are living your best life in a wonderful community.