How Do I Start To Build My Self-Esteem In Early Recovery?

Man in one on one counseling
Going to treatment for a drug and alcohol addiction typically doesn’t happen on a high note. The point in someone’s life in which they have become chemically addicted to drugs and alcohol is usually a low point. As a running joke amongst those in recovery, it is often quipped how nobody comes to treatment feeling good about their using and drinking. Typically, people are sick. Their bodies have been sickened by chronic exposure to drugs and alcohol. Mentally, they have become sick as well, becoming completely dependent on drugs to think, feel, not feel, and function. Being at the bottom end of addiction simply doesn’t feel great. Generally, the beginning phases of addiction are not a boost for self-esteem.


Hidden beneath the thick layers of guilt and shame are deep personal knowledge of doing the right thing. The silver lining within that personal knowledge is self-esteem. Self-esteem, it is often said, is built through doing esteemable acts. Acting against every chemical impulse in the body to continue using drugs and alcohol is a difficult thing to do. Doing what is best for the self is a good thing to do. Even though the bottom end of addiction is a low point in life, it is one of the most high points in life. Taking action, taking initiative, and doing the right thing to save one’s own life, is a highly estimable act. From there on out, the self-esteem continues to build in significant ways and less significant ways. Dueling perspectives will always cause controversy in addiction. Self-esteem is built through actionable reminders that the path of recovery is one of esteem.


Take A Social Media Break

Your self-esteem is still fragile in the early months. It takes a bit of convincing here and there for you to realize that your path in recovery is a monumental one and an important one. Social media is not always the best for self-esteem. Comparing how you feel on your insides to how other people’s lives look on the inside is always a losing game. Focus on where your life is right now- in treatment, taking time to work on yourself to build a life in which you never have to hit the low point of addiction again.


Stay Sober

On the one hand, staying sober seems an obvious point. For those who truly grasp and embrace the idea of sobriety, it is an obvious point. Others, unfortunately, are not so convinced. Sobriety is still optional, not a requirement. Staying sober is a possibility, not a definite. Self-esteem in recovery is no quicker built, as well as no more quickly destroyed, than through sobriety or a lack thereof. Staying sober builds self-esteem every hour of every day. Relapse, singular or chronic, does not help the self-esteem build.


Say Nice Things To Yourself


Science has proven that positive self-talk, especially from the third person, actually changes the brain and the way you see yourself. Give yourself a pep talk in the morning and at night, telling yourself that your commitment to sobriety is a worthwhile, esteemable act. You’ll start to believe yourself!