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Building Self-Esteem in Sobriety

Low self-esteem and drug addiction often go hand-in-hand.  Those with a low perception of self-worth are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to temporarily feel better about themselves.  This false sense of confidence is short-lived, however, because once in the throes of addiction, levels of self-esteem plummet as feelings of shame and guilt over using drugs come to the surface.  

After getting sober, these feelings often linger, especially since the user now can fully recognize the damage his or her addiction caused.  It is crucial, then, to build self-esteem and self-worth – as a way to find happiness away from addiction, as well as prevent relapse.  Below are ways to build yourself up and help you find confidence in your ability to succeed in recovery.  

Eliminate Negativity

Life is too short to have people in your life who only bring you down, and this mantra is especially crucial in early sobriety.  If you’re already doubting yourself, why associate with someone who only adds to your insecurity?  Cut the cord on those in your past who don’t deserve to be in your present.  

Implement Self-care

While in recovery, it’s important to take care of your body by eating healthy and getting enough rest. Sweating it out through regular exercise is also important, as it can lead to a positive outlook and increased self-worth – both which can help you stay motivated in your sobriety.  

Give Back

Helping others can increase self-esteem in that it gives you a sense of value and contribution.   It also shifts the focus off of yourself and onto other people; enabling you to feel gratitude for all you do have, rather than dwelling on all you don’t.   

Have a Support Network

Surrounding yourself with loved ones – those who don’t judge or stigmatize – is a great way to build self-esteem.  Having those to listen, mentor and support you no matter the circumstances can also help you realize how much you matter and the value you have on others.   

Practice Positive Self-Talk

The way you talk to yourself can play a huge role in the success of your recovery.  Either you can be your biggest adversary, or you can be your own relentless cheerleader.  Talking and thinking negatively only leads to feeling worse about yourself, so instead, implement regular pep talks.  This will increase belief in yourself and help you accomplish all you set out to do.  

Stop the Comparisons

Comparing yourself to others and their achievements will only do more harm than good.  After all, there’s always going to be someone who’s smarter, more successful or better looking.  Instead, embrace your own unique journey and be proud of all you’ve been through to get where you are today.  

Remember, change takes time and you won’t regain your self-esteem overnight.  However, working hard to increase your confidence and self-worth will make staying sober that much more manageable, as well as contribute to your overall happiness while in recovery.