In recovery, many people have a wide range of feelings about the past, including guilt, shame, remorse, self-judgment, worry, and even fear. Depending upon your experiences, you might not feel very good about yourself. In fact, commonly, substance use helps to mask those feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. But without the use of substances, those feelings will return, and perhaps even stronger than before. Plus, not feeling good about yourself can trigger cravings and make you vulnerable to relapse.
Strengthening Self-Confidence and Building Self Esteem in Recovery
For these reasons, when you’re ready to focus on your self-esteem, it’s important to do so. Having confidence and believing in yourself can strengthen your sobriety. Here are a few tips for strengthening your self-confidence and boosting your self-esteem:
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.
Take good care of yourself. If you make it a practice to care for your physical body, you’ll feel good all around. Exercise, eating well, and the right amount of sleep at night helps with having clarity of mind, the ability to tolerate stress, and staying positive.
See the good in your life. Look for your unique values, viewpoints, and beliefs that make you who you are. In fact, you can make it a pattern to look for the good in your life by keeping a gratitude journal.
These are suggestions for boosting your self esteem. Most recovering addicts need this in order to feel good about who they are and where their life is headed.