Saturday, 28 May 2016

Self Esteem

There's a scene in the documentary Drinking to Oblivion that, even weeks later, is still haunting me.

(See my post: Drinking to Oblivion)

One of the alcoholics who Louis Theroux spent time with was a young woman with the most appalling boyfriend. He taunted her with stories of the other women he was shagging, and constantly put her down, to her face and in front of the camera.

When, finally, Louis asked her why she didn't leave him she replied "who else would want a fat drunk like me?"

This is another of the terrible contradictions of alcohol. We drink it to give us confidence, but it gradually leeches away all of our self esteem.

AA have a saying along the lines of alcohol gives you wings, then takes away the sky.

The problem is that the less self esteem you possess, the more difficult it is to quit. Which is why it is so crucial to get off the slippery slope before you hit rock bottom.

In order to quit you need to be able to believe you can do it, and believe you are worth it.

If you're in the early days of quitting, then it really helps to consciously work on your self esteem.

For example, if you're plagued with insecurities at wine o'clock (I can't do this, it's too hard. I haven't got the strength) then try visualisation (See my post: I am Khaleesi).

If you find yourself thinking what's the point anyway? I'm so old/dull/insert your adjective, I might as well just carry on drinking then think back to your pre-drinking days and remind yourself what a brilliant person you are.

Find a picture of a young, happy, vibrant you (see my post: Picture a Young You) and stick it on the fridge.

Ask your children to describe you, and stick those words on too (be warned: my kids usually come up with words like 'saggy boobs' and 'big bum'. You need to ignore those ones).

You owe it to the younger you, and you owe it to the super-hero Mum in your kids heads, the one who can heal all wounds with a kiss and has an answer to every question, to nail this thing.

Since I've been thinking about self esteem, I started a new project. I've called it the You're Awesome Project.

My kids love table plans. The rule in the SM house is that whoever lays the table gets to decide the seating plan (this is v good for my self esteem as it always involves sitting next to Mummy, even if I do have saggy boobs and a big bum).

Every family meal we end up writing out little place names, and then losing them. So, I decided that each time anyone has a birthday, I will give them a plate, hand painted by me at the local pottery café, with their name on it.

Then I got a bit carried away, and I decided to paint thirty adjectives, all round the rim of that plate, to describe why that person is awesome.

I've just finished Mr SM's plate The smalls all helped choose the words, which include: kind, cuddly and hero. But also descriptors like James Bond expert, soufflĂ© supremo, skydiver and cable guy. Plus, since we're being truthful here, my personal favourite: folically challenged.

So now, whenever we have a family dinner, not only do we all know where we're sitting, but we're all reminded of what makes us awesome.

What's not to like?

Love SM x


  1. I love this idea! I'm going to steal it :) (53 days today and your blogs keep me going :))

  2. I just popped out to buy some non alcoholic wine (Maggie Beer Chardonnay) and witnessed a couple in their late 60's arguing outside the store. Loudly he accused her of being a Fu##ing ar###ole to which she feebly replied 'I'm not'. I looked at him in disgust before turning away, realising he could just as quickly turn on me. Why would a woman put up with that? How low is her self esteem that she would allow someone to speak to her in such a way.Made me extra grateful for My long suffering husband who has put up with so much from his alcohol deprived wife these past 17 days!

  3. My kids frequently describe me as cuddly and bonkers.. Darling daughter added potato breath to the equation this morning.. Better than wine breath I guess?!? Awesome is a good thing to aim for!

  4. I LOVE your plate idea!! So, so fantastic!!

  5. What a clever idea! I am thinking so much about gratitude these days and I am focusing on noticing it, feeling it but I also want to help instill it in my children (and my dh). What a lovely way of doing so. Maybe I will take my kids to do one with me for husband for upcoming Fathers Day and then do one for each child (with sibling) for each of their birthdays. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I love that AA saying about wings. It articulates what I've been ruminating on lately. Why does alcohol help so much, then not help so much?

  7. That is so sweet SM!!! Your kids will always have that memory and hopefully will carry it on with their own families! But most importantly, they know they are awesome!!! It would be interesting if us "sobers" made an awesome list about ourselves! I think it would be hard!!!!! I am going to try! xo

  8. What a wonderful idea, thank you for sharing! My dishes are aged and chipped so I keep thinking what to do about new dinnerware. I may just design our own...I'll let my son and hubby come up with the names for mine, my son and I can do hubby's, and he and I can do son's. Very cool!

  9. The plates are a great idea, I made one for my best friend 25 years ago which was a bit funny and rude (it was our age) but have not thought of doing one since. I had a major reaction to the first half of the post, it brought on the Billy boo hoo's out of nowhere. All to do with self esteem but I worked through the feelings and the day was not lost. Wasn't able to comment at 09.37 when I started gulping my coffe in bed in the hope it would quell the tear so have come back now to say I got both a good idea and an opportunity for personal growth from this post. Thank you SM.

  10. Love the idea of the plates. Such a great idea! I have always had low self esteem, even as a child. So I have an uphill battle ahead of me. But it's something I want to work on. A x

  11. Hi SM - awesome last few posts as usual. Day 147 for me. Still can't quite believe it. From yesterday's post I would like to tell people in early days that I had a serious chocolate habit that I thought I'd never get over, but it worked for me to stick with that and stay AF and now I've managed to sort the choc habit too. (I still love the stuff but have managed to restrict myslef to near normal quantities!!) On another note I was really worried about a couples dinner I was goign to recently - for some reason I wasn't sure what excuse to give for not drinking. Anyway I'd planned teh various scenarios in my head - and of course it was so not an issue once it came and I had a fabulous evening with no awkwardness. When I first arrived I had one of my AF beers I brought with me and made my little excuses. When the next couple arrived the bloke pulled out a box of AF beers and initially said I'm going AF at the mo - my body is a temple. Well he was the one who got the grilling peole askign if he was on some crazy detox or something. And guess what he said next - nah - basically I was drinking way too much and I'm an all or nothing guy so I've just decided to quit completely for now!!! (I mean is he reading your blog??!! or did you just send him for my benefit!! God bless you!) One of these days I will get over myself and just tell the world that exact truth. But for now it works to stay incognito as it were - and at the end of the day you have to do what works eh!. I feel on top of the world - and this is right where I'm, gonna stay thanks to you SM and all of you other lovely peeps on here. Happy sober weekend my friends. Love SFM xxx

    1. Lol! That is too funny! Hurrah for the all or nothings! You sound amazing SFM! Awesome x

  12. I've never heard that AA saying before, I love it. The plates sound lovely, your kids will always remember it.

  13. Hi SM, the plates are a brilliant idea, and very special...totally agree with the self esteem...I worked on mine for a year before stopping, and had the mantra, because I am worth of my downfalls, was putting everyone else first, and very little self care...actually everyone is happier with the new assertive still doesn't come naturally but I am working on it..x

  14. You're a really fun mom! I think the self esteem issue is a big one and very hard to work on- but so worth it. It's always a work in progress isn't it?
    Thanks for the great images you provide!

  15. That's a brilliant idea with the plates - going to borrow that one