Addiction is an experience that can destroy a person’s self-esteem. With ruined relationships, loss of a job, an unraveling marriage, and perhaps the loss of friends, which are all experiences that can come with severe addiction, a person might have a low opinion of themselves. Fortunately, part of recovery is learning to repair one’s life, including building one’s confidence. This article will provide some secrets for boosting your self-esteem so that you can stay sober longer.
Self-esteem has two main parts: thoughts and self-talk. For instance, if you have a negative thought that points to a failure in your life, you might then talk to yourself as though you are a failure. You might find yourself saying, “You’re such a loser.” And if you continue to talk to yourself in that way, you might begin to believe that you are a failure. With a distorted belief about yourself, you might never achieve your dreams, repair your marriage, fight for your children, or mend old friendships. Instead, you might behave in a way that mirrors your belief and, as a result, do nothing that helps to boost your life.
However, that’s not what most people in recovery want for themselves. Most people are in recovery because they do want some sort of change. They want to improve their lives. If that’s the case for you too, here are some steps to consider for improving your self-esteem, which in turn, can strengthen your sobriety:
Change Your Self-Talk: Before you can change anything, you first need to become aware of what you want to change. Start to pay attention to the way that you talk to yourself. See if you can notice any negative self-talk. And if you hear that inner voice talking badly to yourself, then stop right in your tracks. Stop and immediately replace it with something positive. For instance, to use the example above, if you find yourself saying, “You’re such a loser,” immediately replace it with something like, “I might fail at some things, but I am a winner because I keep trying until I’m satisfied.” Or use a sentence that feels right for you. The point is to notice and change any negative self-talk to what’s positive.
Change Your Thinking: One of the most significant ways to improve the way you feel is to change your thoughts. In fact, according to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a popular form of therapy in drug treatment, there is a strong relationship between thinking, feeling, and behaving. In short, a thought leads to a feeling and a feeling leads to a thought. For instance, the thought, “I’m no good at my job” might lead to feeling embarrassment, shame, or disempowerment. Those feelings might lead to calling in sick more often, looking for another job, or even doing things to get fired and go on unemployment. On the other hand, the thought, “I love what I do and I love getting paid for it,” can be empowering. You might begin to feel joyful, more energized, and find yourself volunteering for tasks at work that you might otherwise would have avoided. In other words our thoughts can create our experiences based upon the thought-feeling-behaving cycle.
You might find that you can’t do the above two tasks on your own. It’s often hard to be aware of yourself. If you find that you need support, there are many therapists who can help facilitate the change of negative self-talk and negative thinking. Making these changes can help boost your self-esteem which can strengthen your confidence in staying sober.
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