Today I’m going to talk about hitting rock bottom as a narcissistic alcoholic. Now, I want to start from the very beginning just to paint a background for you.
I started as a very sensitive boy and I started to stim when I was two years old, and that means self soothing – stimming is something that autistic people do, and people with Asperger’s can do it as well.
I started rocking back and forth, and it was very self soothing and I don’t know why I started doing it, possibly because I had a rocking chair, and a rocking horse right there in my room and it felt very comforting to do it but I don’t really know why I began.
I started to rock more and more as I got older and I realized that my dad was very strict, kind of scary, he had a lot of rage, and I didn’t really realize that until he spanked me when I was four for picking up some fiberglass.
It really startled me and I didn’t know what happened, it was just out of nowhere, and it confused me and I believe that from then on, I needed to protect myself, I knew that I couldn’t depend on him. I wasn’t in a safe environment, and I had to fend for myself.
I wanted to seek revenge on him. I didn’t know what to do but you know later on in my life I realized that I could withhold love. So when I was 16 to 18 and I withheld love by giving him the silent treatment. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Basically with alcoholics and Narcissists, they share many traits, they’re self centered, they have flights of grandeur and everything’s about them. They play wounded – they’re either really cocky and arrogant or they play wounded. Either way they want something from you.
I didn’t discover alcohol until I was 17 before that my escape was music and rocking back and forth. I discovered hard rock when I was 12, and just escaped into a fantasy world.
I had friends but I played with them one on one, I was not good in groups, and I eventually failed out of high school because I just wanted to be a rock and roll drummer, and I rocked back and forth from after dinner until bedtime every night so I didn’t really do homework.
Plus I have Asperger’s, which I didn’t self diagnose until last year when I was 47, but that’s another topic as well.
So, basically, moving forward, I had narcissism. Then, alcohol, along with my Asperger’s and highly sensitive.
So I discovered alcohol when I was 17, and it was magical. I felt free. I felt like I could speak my mind, But it also exacerbated my self centeredness, because I was already in fight or flight, the alcohol just made it worse.
It got to the point where I was rebellious. I had the wrong role models. I looked up to alcoholic writers, destructive rock and roll musicians, and celebrities.
So my whole thing, when I turned 18 and my dad kicked me out, I was an egomaniac. I was still very shy, though, so I had two dynamics going. I was very introverted and shy because of Asperger’s, but on the other hand, I was very cocky and arrogant to protect my insecurity.
Well, with alcoholism and Asperger’s, that grew into full blown narcissism. So I don’t hang out with people unless they complimented me, and if they criticized me, I would throw them away.
In fact, when I was 20, I started to date an older woman, and she was 20 years older than me. She was more like a parent than a girlfriend, and I would get drunk, and she would baby me.
I got rid of all my old friends from high school because they weren’t reflecting what I wanted. For me, they did not reflect what I wanted to portray. I wanted to be an alcoholic writer and poet. I wanted people that basically supported me.
My friends were bullies, my old friends, the old jocks, and my dad was a bully and the teachers were bullies. So I felt like it was me against the world – and that’s part of narcissism is we feel like the world is against us or we feel like we’re victims.
So at this point in my life, I had a girlfriend that babied me, I was a total alcoholic, and only hung out with people that supported my ego – and, if they didn’t support my ego then I would isolate.
So I was drinking alone later in life, and just stayed by myself because people were not supporting what I wanted anymore. And, every girlfriend I had, I would get into severe arguments with them. I really needed to get my point across, and I didn’t feel like I was heard.
I couldn’t relate to them, so I could not see their point of view. I had no empathy. I had no compassion. I did not feel too much emotion when people got hurt. I would say wow, that sucks.
But I wouldn’t feel it because I’d be thinking about myself and when I got into groups, or around more than one person, I would get hyper self conscious, because I’m only thinking about me.
Now I’m thinking, you know, they’re thinking about me, or they’re thinking this about me.
So alcoholics and Narcissists need to be admired. They need to be the center of attention and if they don’t get it, they self isolate and they become the victim.
So what needs to happen to hit rock bottom for a narcissist and an alcoholic, and I can only speak for myself, every alcoholic is different, and every narcissist is different.
But what needs to happen is, their self image needs to be shattered. Because later in life, I started to kill myself literally with alcohol, it was to the point where my only lover was alcohol – girlfriend’s dumped me, I got fired from jobs, I got thrown in jail, life was a mess and that didn’t even stop me from drinking.
In fact, I had a heart attack when I was 32 that did not stop me from drinking. In fact I drank more because I was like that was a fluke. I’m healthy – even though my widowmaker artery was 60% Clogged, I was like it’s a fluke. I’m young, I’m still immortal.
So there were a lot of things that were breaking me down, but it didn’t humble me. It didn’t stop me from drinking. I drank more than ever.
In fact, between the ages of 34 to 36 I stopped eating, and I was getting drunk twice a day, because I only had a job two days a week.
The rest of the time I drank. I would get drunk in the morning. Sleep it off, and then get drunk in the evening. So this whole time. I’m just thinking about myself, but it’s not enough to quit alcohol.
But here’s what happened. This is pretty normal for a narcissist. And it’s very ironic. I was nearly dead from alcohol, but that didn’t stop me. The only thing that stopped me was I was shamed by someone, and I’m being very honest.
I was with a girl. She was distracting herself in her own ways, and together we were very disruptive. The first year was great, second year was okay, third year was horrible.
We argued every day, because I couldn’t get my point across. She couldn’t get her point across, and we were very bullheaded.
So, I’m not making that up. I mean she was thrown in jail on her own accord because of her temper. I mean, it was just a very destructive relationship.
But what happened was, she had a friend come over. She actually left for work. This is 8am. I’m having alcohol withdrawals. I’m laying in bed naked because I slept in the nude. I’m shaking and trembling, and one of her friends comes in.
It’s a guy skateboarder guy, and he sits in the corner of the room, he just invited himself in. I’m shaking and trembling with withdrawals.
He picks up my ex girlfriend’s guitar and starts playing songs about me making up these weird songs, teasing me and I felt so defenseless, I couldn’t get up and kick him out. I was shaking and trembling.
So, at the rock bottom of my alcoholism, I couldn’t hold a job, blacking out every night, vomiting in the morning – couldn’t hold down the cheap malt liquor and this guy comes in.
He was probably up all night on speed, wanted to see her and she was at work so he just bugged me and played songs on this guitar – and my self image was shattered. I felt so much shame, and defenselessness that I was like this is it. I’m done.
After hundreds of relapses, many different times of sobriety, ranging from three months to 21 months, I finally was done, I felt it in my heart. I felt it in my gut. And then I went home…
I stopped drinking, and got two jobs, and was celibate and sober – and that was the first time I think I really had some introspection, self introspection. I was broken.
But it wasn’t until the last few years that (I had been with the same girl now for 10 years and she’s an energy healer) and she’s the first one that taught me about shadow work. This is a great concept. It basically means you got to take accountability for what you project on other people.
So for instance, if I look at someone and I say, man, they’re fat. I can’t believe they let themselves go that far. If you look back at yourself, there’s probably something in your life that you have lost control over, might not be weight, might be something else.
But when you project something onto someone, and you can spot it, that’s shadow work, so she taught me about that – and I got to the point where I was just tired of arguing.
So I started to look at other people’s perception of things I really started to try implementing empathy, like, really looking through their eyes, at every single problem.
And there were some days I would have to stop myself every 10 minutes instead of getting combative and defensive, I stopped, I would take a deep breath, and I would look at their point of view.
I’m still doing that today. I catch myself every day. But what it’s done is it’s reduced my self centeredness, it’s reduced my rage, because I can’t control everything.
So I really believe that you can recover from narcissism, but it’s very hard, it’s harder than quitting addictions because I’ve quit several addictions. But those are just the band aids.
I’ve gotten deeper into the core of why I gravitated to all those addictions, and it’s because I had very low self worth. I was self centered because I have been in fight or flight since I was a little boy.
When I was a little boy, I learned that I couldn’t trust my dad. I couldn’t trust my friends, I couldn’t even trust teachers, teachers back in the 80s, physically abused kids.
You know I was punched by several teachers, and yeah I’m, you could call me a victim still today, oh you’re blaming your teachers, oh you’re blaming your dad.
I take total accountability. I was very self centered. And when I wasn’t supported in my ego mania. I rather self isolate.
So today, I’m 48. I’m finally wanting to partake in activities with other people and listen to their point of view. I’m not rocking back and forth anymore. I’m not drinking, I’ve been sober for 13 years and it’s still a struggle.
Because now I’m battling with social anxiety because I’m still thinking about myself and social anxiety is basically being hyper aware of your surroundings and thinking that people are thinking about you.
So I went from alcoholism to social anxiety, so sobriety doesn’t cure all. You’re still gonna have issues. There’s many narcissists that never can recover. They just cannot even fathom empathy, they can’t even muster the strength to think about others, they’re just too far gone.
Even right now, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. All I know is I’m practicing empathy every day. And if I get nervous, instead of looking within, I’m trying to focus on my environment, and to think about others first.
That’s a great way to conquer social anxiety, think about others before yourself. Learn how to ask questions that will get you out of your self centeredness, which is the first step to conquer narcissism.
So anyways I hope that helps. You have to shatter your self image, I think, to stop narcissism. You have to shatter your ego, and really understand that you are not almighty, that there’s millions of other opinions that you should look at.
Because dying alone from narcissism is not worth it. I don’t care how bad your childhood was. There’s a time to let go of that, forgive your past, forgive yourself, forgive others for hurting you. That’s what it all comes down to is forgiveness. Forgive those that hurt you.
You know the biggest sociopath, like Bundy, they were hurt, you know, they’re hurt by their mothers usually they’re a victim, so my mom didn’t love me or my mom picked up a new boyfriend. I really want my dad back but she’s dating some new guy. I mean this is just one example.
But there’s a point where you can sear your consciousness, and there’s no return, and you can become a very cold hearted evil person if left unchecked, so you have to self reflect, you have to get alone and self reflect and realize that you are not anywhere near who you think you are.
You have to be truly humbled. So get alone and self reflect and look back at your past, forgive those who hurt you. That’s the first thing you should do. Anyways guys, thanks for watching. I hope this helps. I will talk to you soon.
Erik C Johnson