I’ve heard a lot of speakers since I entered into recovery back in 2005. One thing people share is that they never felt, “a part-of”, they always felt different from the rest of the crowd. For me it was a bit different. I always felt a sense of belonging and was able to make friends easy. For the most part I never had that sense of not belonging. In high school I had a set of good and loyal friends and we stuck together like brothers. Despite this acceptance from those around me I was never comfortable in my own skin. I had self-loathing from as far back as I can remember. I wanted to look different even be someone else.
My first addiction was to television. I could lose myself in sitcoms and dramas for hours, escaping life. One of the shows I loved as a kid was The Amazing Spiderman. I loved the character so much I wanted to be him. At night I didn’t pray for the wellness of family or friends but for God to turn me into Spiderman. I’m still waiting on that – so far my Higher Power has said no.
Later on I got involved in the youth group at a local little theatre. That was an even better way to escape as I could become a whole new person and not be myself for a few hours a week. I would carry on my love of acting into high school. But alas I always had to return to reality and to being myself. I am an individual who is vertically challenged and I clearly remember standing beside a good friend of mine in front of a mirror and realizing how short I was compared to other people. That was the beginning of my avoidance of looking into mirrors. This aversion to seeing myself in reflections would continue into high school as I came down with extreme acne. There was even a period I would wear dark sunglasses (outdoors and indoors) in case I accidentally glanced in a mirror by accident. As my addiction progressed my reasons for avoiding looking into the mirror grew.
When I entered into recovery I had to get rid of my resentment against myself. As my sponsor said to me, “Dave, unless you get some painful operation you’re not going to get any taller”. Today, I accept who I am and am full of self-love. I learned that I had to love myself if I ever wanted to get into a healthy relationship and love another.