Recognizing How Self-Esteem Aids in Recovery

Recognizing How Self-Esteem Aids in Recovery

Improving self-esteem is something is focus for our clinical team when helping newly sober people at Confidential Recovery. Self-esteem is how you view yourself as a person — your opinions about who you are as an individual. When you behave in a kind and trustworthy way, your general sense of self-worth increases, and this supports early recovery.

Getting sober and staying that way is a long and challenging journey that requires you to dig deep and find inner resolve. Put simply, if you don’t like who you are, you will be more likely to relapse.  But,having low self-esteem shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing recovery and changing your life. It’s very typical for our patients to suffer from low self-esteem when they first enter treatment.  Our counselors and therapists give our patients tools and guide them through therapeutic processes and activities to help boost their self-esteem.

How Does Self-Esteem Affect Recovery?

When your self-esteem is low, it contributes to several negative mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and even eating disorders.  It can also seriously hinder your recovery journey. When you’re struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), you may be experiencing shame, and the stigma around SUD is something that we’ve been battling for decades.

We start by congratulating our patients for taking the courageous first step of accepting help. Making our patients feel positive about pursuing treatment starts a shift in self-perception that will help them handle the challenges of early sobriety with a positive mindset.

Our team of counselors create an uplifting environment to support the self-esteem of our patients.  During group counseling sessions, new patients are surrounded by those who have achieved longer periods of sobriety, and this not only gives them hope, it reduces the stigma of having an SUD.

Our education on the disease of addiction and relapse prevention training help the individual understand that when they do experience cravings and are tempted to relapse, it’s a natural part of the process. They should not be self-critical, but instead, reach out to our counselors or their support system to get through the temporary temptation.

Ways to Improve Self-esteem

Improving your self-esteem isn’t something that you can achieve overnight, it is more of an ongoing process. There are a variety of activities that you can participate in to improve it. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Set goals for yourself. Having goals can help you to stay focused and motivated during your recovery journey. It can also help you to feel more confident in yourself as you make progress towards realizing these objectives.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. It’s important to be around people who support your rehab journey. You don’t want to be constantly surrounded by people who put you down or undermine your self-confidence.
  • Volunteer and help others. Doing good for others can be a great way to boost your self-esteem. By volunteering, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment, thereby escalating your self-worth.

Practice Self-Care

Recovery can be a long and challenging journey, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and finding time to do the things that you love. What goes on in your mind throughout the day is so important, so ask yourself “is it positive and uplifting?” Change your behavior if not, here are a couple more tips:

  • Be kind to yourself. Be gentle and accept yourself unconditionally. Stating positive affirmations into the mirror that are as simple as “I like you, and you are going to be okay” can improve self-esteem.
  • Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Self-awareness is key to overcoming low self-esteem. If you’re always thinking negatively, it can lead to a negative self-image. Practice speaking to yourself in a positive and uplifting manner. You might also journalize your thoughts and feelings. By staying mindful of your thoughts, you’ll recognize the times you’re being too self-critical.

Getting Help is Always a Good Move

The above tips can help you feel good about yourself and can help you to stay positive throughout your recovery journey. But, if you are stuck in an SUD, it can be hard to move forward. Fortunately, there’s a lot of help available in the form of trained family counselors. You can start by contacting The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) Treatment Locator, which is a toll-free number that is staffed 24/7. That line can be reached by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Taking a step toward recovery, even as small as calling someone to talk, can help build self-esteem.

Scott H. Silverman