Building Self-Esteem in Recovery

About Building Self-Esteem

Individuals’ feelings of self-worth and value are reflected in their self-esteem. In addition to substance abuse, it can affect recovery and a number of other aspects of life.

While alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors can temporarily mask insecurities, these feelings do not last. In fact, low self-esteem could contribute to the onset of drug use, eating disorders, and Internet addictions.

A person’s self-esteem can be damaged as time goes on when grappling with the effects of addiction. These five exercises can help you improve your self-esteem, well-being, and outlook on life, regardless of your current addiction status or whether you are already in recovery.

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Write Affirmations for Yourself

Whenever you say anything positive to yourself, it is an affirmation. Though it may not seem sincere at first to say affirmations, eventually after reciting them you will feel a lot better. Think of yourself with an affirmation in mind, like “I am happy with myself.”

Positive self-talk can be transformed into an optimistic view of oneself by repeating these affirmations.

The essence of these affirmations, however, is that they take time. Make a commitment to yourself to tell yourself out loud every day for a month.

Study findings have shown that self-affirmation improves attitudes about health risk advice in low self-esteem individuals. This might be beneficial for drug or alcohol addicts struggling to recover.

An affirmation can motivate people to participate in their treatment and recovery if it makes them feel more receptive and optimistic.

Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

Addicts often blame themselves for their addictions, which worsens their low self-esteem. You say and do things you will later regret when you are addicted, so your judgment and impulse control are affected.

You should let go of punishing yourself for what you did in the past and commit to doing things differently in the future. When you beat yourself up about what you did in the past, you will only increase your chances of relapse. Therefore, do not allow past mistakes to dictate your present.

Additionally, research suggests the importance of forgiving yourself. According to research, people who forgive themselves for past mistakes are less anxious and depressed.


As part of self-forgiveness, you should recognize your behavior, feel remorse for it, and then look for ways to do better in the future.

Accept Compliments

It has been shown that people with low self-esteem have difficulty taking compliments from others and utilizing the benefit of those compliments. This can be problematic not only for an individual’s self-esteem but also for others who are close to that individual.

If a person with low self-esteem receives a compliment, why does it take them so long to accept it? Feelings of embarrassment compound the problem, as they doubt that the compliments are sincere, resulting in feelings of patronization.

When low self-esteem is present, people lack the confidence to receive compliments from others.

Do Something Kind Every Day

Prosocial behaviors, or actions that contribute to the betterment of others, have also been shown to increase self-esteem, according to research. Studies have found that prosocial behavior is actually a predictor of self-esteem, especially among women. According to the study, prosocial actions were associated with higher self-reported self-esteem in women.

Kindness can increase the appreciation you receive from others. You don’t have to make a grand gesture to earn a genuine thank you. Something as simple as holding the door open for someone, giving up a seat on the bus, or giving someone directions if they look lost will do.

You can still feel good knowing that you have helped someone even if they don’t express their gratitude to you. Considering helping others in recovery is also an option.

Start Making Changes

In addition to self-determination, self-esteem can also be improved by self-determination. The term self-determined refers to actions people take independently of others as a result of their own choice, initiative, or motivation.

The ability to make decisions about your life is also a critical factor in recovery from substance abuse. The ability, motivation, and skills necessary for success in recovery are crucial to achieving your goals. If slip-ups do occur, however, they can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem and self-determination.

Change takes time, as is important to keep in mind. You can boost your self-esteem by taking self-determined steps in the right direction, no matter how small they may seem.

People with addictions may wish to change things about their lives, or those around them, but the process of change is gradual.

It can be overwhelming to implement a major change. Break it up into smaller steps, and choose to do one each day or once a week, whichever you feel you can manage. You can celebrate your progress toward your goal by inwardly celebrating each little change you make.

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Get The Help You Need Today

People with addiction issues and mental health issues may find it difficult to be confident in themselves and their abilities, especially if they are constantly dwelling on their past mistakes. In order to appreciate your strengths and acknowledge your progress, you might want to find ways to build your self-esteem.

An effective self-esteem-building strategy can be found in self-help books. Getting help from your doctor or mental health professional will help if you are struggling with low self-esteem. In addition to psychotherapy or medications, they may suggest treatments that can help, such as those directed at treating underlying feelings of depression or anxiety. Contact us today.