I had no idea what love was, period, let alone self-love. My sponsor used to tell me repeatedly “if I talk to my friends the way I talk to myself, I wouldn’t have any friends.” But harsh and critical of myself and others was what love and care looked like in my family of origin.
I had really terrible self-esteem when I came into CoDA. I can still have rough days with low self-esteem but today I can recognize that just because I feel low doesn’t mean I am. Who does my program say I am? Am I sure these thoughts are true, the thoughts that got me swirling around thinking about ending my own life, and that got me into the mess I was in pre-recovery?
Come to find out, I didn’t feel worthy of “self-love” so that’s why I was making all those poor calls to sabotage myself and stay in situations that harmed me. More was revealed through working the Twelve Steps, especially Steps Four through Seven, with a competent sponsor. The muddy water became clear, I was making all those poor calls to sabotage myself and stay in situations that harmed me because I didn’t “feel” worthy of self-love. But I was worthy then and I am worthy now. I was told this program is a progression through higher power-love (Steps One through Three), then into self-love (Steps Four through Seven) and then out to others (Steps Eight and Nine). I guess self-love was kind of a gateway. Now it’s so clear, I couldn’t love anyone truly until I loved myself.