It sounds like you are making good progress, my man. Sorry to hear that you are on layoff from your job. Glad to hear that you are trying to improve yourself through education. How do we move from the isolation and negativity of our past toward leaving our past behind and moving confidently forward without the disabling effect of our past?
In recovery we have to work through our primary issues, with our issues with our shame being one of our biggest issues to overcome. From a lot of what you have said lately you are still somewhat sensitive to the words and beliefs of coworkers and others in your life. You are seeking reassurance from people around you and at least some of the time not getting positive assurance from these same people.
Have you yet looked at Matthew McKay's book SELF ESTEEM? I'm sure that you could find it at either Barnes & Noble or Border's, or order it from either chain's websites. Once we begin to work beyond our shame and our sensitivity to the sometimes hurtful words of others, we will need to learn to build our self-esteem then our self-confidence. Once we become confident in ourselves and our own abilities the unkind words of others won't have such an effect on us. I got there by being secure enough in myself to begin to take chances that I would have thought impossible earlier in my recovery. By then I had to have developed better coping skills, and by then my lifelong need to numb myself through my drug and alcohol abuse had become only a memory for me. When I enjoyed successes they spurred me to take more chances and greater risks. A year or two later I had made great progress and operated fairly free from my past and its insecurities.
That is what you need to learn to do. You have already made progress developing better coping strategies. You have made some progress toward a more-secure self. You have been taking chances that at one point might have seemed impossible. You are becoming more self-confident and self-assured. Yes, I know, that there is this little nagging voice in your head that just won't seem to go away. It keeps saying "I can't". You just have to prove that little voice wrong enough times and your self-esteem and self-confidence will improve to the point where the unkind and insensitive words of others don't affect you the way that they once did.
You are making great personal progress my man. Let's work hard to overcoming that insecurity and replace it with confidence.
"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark