The Effects of Low Self Esteem in Addiction and Recovery

Self Esteem |

Having a low self esteem is more common than you think. Although when someone suffers from having little belief in themselves, they tend to believe that they are the only ones suffering from that sort of discomfort. However, it’s fair to say that most people suffer from insecurities and low self confidence.

Developing Low Self-Esteem

In fact, it’s easy to develop a low self esteem. Many circumstances can contribute to it. For instance, if you had critical parents, you might have internalized the critic such that you become heavily self-critical. You might develop a pattern of judging or harming yourself. And, it’s not only critical parents, but also caregivers who were abusive physically, emotionally, or psychologically can also contribute to someone low self esteem. Childhood abuse, especially if it were ongoing, can also send the message that your life doesn’t have value, and that message can also be something one internalizes. And as a result of internalized criticism or low self value, you might begin to make choices in your life that are self-harming.

For many people struggling with a low self esteem, it’s easy to let feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred to contribute to drug use and addiction. For instance, you might turn to drinking when you feel lonely instead of talking it through with a professional. Or you might abuse prescription drugs as a way to avoid feeling emotional pain. Part of the illness of addiction is often feeling troubled about yourself or about your life, which sadly, addiction only makes worse. Part of the disease of addiction is frequently having a low self-esteem.

If you get the support you need and if you get sober, it’s possible to still let these feelings of low self-worth affect your life. For instance, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or burned out, you might find yourself relapsing. Some of your old thinking patterns might get a hold of your thinking and you might simply give in to them. You might end up reverting to an old, albeit familiar, way of life.

Recovery |

Having Support in Recovery

In recovery, it’s important to have support not only in the beginning but all the way through many years after getting sober. For situations that might potentially cause relapse or self-harm, having support can help prevent a relapse. Also, a significant part of having support in recovery is having help in tending to those feelings of low self worth. A sponsor, therapist, or psychologist can help you work through these feelings.

However, a few examples of improving your self esteem include:

  • Look for the good in your life.
  • Tell and show yourself love.
  • Praise yourself as much as possible.
  • Develop self trust by listening to your soft inner voice.

These are a few ways to develop more self confidence and self-worth. In your recovery, you might also want to gain support in this process. It can be challenging to do this yourself if you continue to have beliefs about yourself that only add to a low-self worth. However, someone else can perhaps point out the beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that might be contributing to low self esteem that you may not be able to see in yourself. And once you know this, you can then work to change them.

It’s important to include in your recovery not only the ability to stay sober, but also healing those parts of your life that may be contributing to addiction in the first place – such as building a healthy self esteem.


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