Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem in Recovery

Recovery |

If you were struggling with addiction at one point, there’s a good chance that your self-esteem was not strong. Although this isn’t true for every addict, it’s common to see a low self-esteem accompany mental illness, including addiction. With addiction there is often a deterioration of one’s life, including the way you feel about yourself.

The Importance of Confidence in Recovery

Self esteem could be described as having confidence in oneself. It’s having confidence in your abilities and having respect for who you are inside and out. Yet, there are so many factors that can contribute to having a low self esteem, especially during a struggle with addiction.

For instance, addiction might lead to the loss of employment, end of a relationship, loss of your children, or even severe physical concerns. All of these can eat away at one’s self-confidence. Furthermore, those who do not have a high self esteem can be vulnerable to mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.

Fortunately, one of the wonderful things about recovery is that it is entire life change. You’re not only ending your addiction, you’re ending a lifestyle. In recovery, you have the opportunity to put your focus on health, happiness, and building a new future. Part of this re-building is restoring a sense of self-worth so that you can feel good about who you are and the life you’re living.

Here are Some Suggestions to Build Self Esteem While in Recovery

  • Be honest with yourself. If you’ve been in recovery for awhile, you might already know that honesty is the best medicine for addiction. Since denial contributes heavily to addiction, being honest can completely turn life around.
  • Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your strengths are can add to a sense of feeling good about yourself. Knowing your weaknesses can be just as important. When faced with a difficult task, for example, instead of pretending to know how to get it done and then fail (which can dampen your self-esteem), you can ask for help or simply admit that you don’t have that skill. Admitting your weaknesses is in itself a certain kind of strength.
  • Don’t beat yourself up over your weaknesses. There’s a sense of confidence that you might develop with knowing what you can and can’t do. Instead of beating yourself up for your weaknesses, you’re simply being honest.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Although comparing ourselves to others is so easy to do, especially when we don’t have faith in our own lives, this is the first thing that weakens self-esteem. There’s only one life to live and that’s yours. Taking responsibility for it is the best way to build self-confidence.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. As you continue to reach your goals and achieve them, your self confidence will only improve.
  • Trust your own feelings. This is hard to do when you might have been taught in childhood that your feelings are not worth trusting. Often, we are taught to trust reason and logic instead. However, feelings are a certain kind of intelligence that can lead to building self-trust that in turn can boost self-confidence.
  • Take it one day at a time. Do your best each day.  Giving it your best each day can also help boost your feelings about life. In recovery, with each day of staying sober, you move closer and closer to living the life you want.

The above list provides some suggestions for boosting your self-esteem. Another great advantage to recovery is that you can pick and choose the tools you need to continue to improve your life. Therefore, if there’s a tool on the above list that works for you and that’s not listed above, be sure to include it in your daily life!


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