Strengthening self-esteem and confidence in sobriety serves as the footprint to continued wellness in recovery. When we are confident, we feel as if we can do anything. When our self-esteem is at an adequate level or higher, we believe we deserve the best.
But, when a person is in recovery and has not tackled how to build self-esteem and confidence, he or she is more likely to revert to abusing substances; due to the lack of a solid inner foundation.
Finding inner self-esteem and confidence is sometimes easier said than done. If this doesn’t come naturally as a first responder, it can be taxing to constantly feel the pressure and need to portray confidence outwardly to those around you.
Due to the pressures, some may turn to substance abuse to give them a sense of confidence, even if it’s false and short-lived. Alcohol tends to give people certain confidence they usually would not have, but this is because it lowers one’s inhibitions rather than providing a true sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Those who suffer from substance abuse and low self-esteem may struggle to find happiness and self-worth away from their addiction, but it can be done. When an individual decides to get sober, it’s imperative that they also strengthen their self-esteem and build their confidence in healthy and practical ways. This is to help ensure they don’t feel the need to turn to substances again.
Here is a list of experiences that may contribute to low self-esteem
- Emotional or physical abuse
- Being ignored, ridiculed, teased
- Facing harsh criticism
- Expectations to be perfect
Now, here are some tips on how you can develop high self-esteem
- Being treated respectfully
- Being listened to
- Having achievements recognized
- Acceptance of mistakes
Building confidence, paired with strengthening self-esteem, is a winning combination to lead a life of continued sobriety. Please remember, building confidence will not happen overnight, or even in a month. It’s something we have to practice every day by redirecting our thoughts and focusing on the positive.
Below is a list of 6 tips you can use to build your confidence:
Practice using positive affirmations – At first, you may find that this feels forced and that you don’t believe your own words. Choosing one or two positive affirmations, writing them down, or reading them aloud every day can help build confidence. If we say to ourselves every day, “I deserve respect and happiness,” or “I am strong and capable,” we will begin to believe it.
Recognize and challenge negative thoughts – Identifying negative thoughts and changing those thought patterns is essential for staying sober. See how your mind naturally gravitates towards specific thoughts and try looking at them from a different, more positive perspective. By changing “I can’t do this” to “I can try my best,” we can start to climb out of this negative rut we’ve dug ourselves into.
Keep a journal – Seeing our thoughts, worries, and wishes on paper can help us view our mind from a more distant—and somewhat more objective—a perspective where we can recognize unhealthy patterns and work toward changing them.
Surround yourself with uplifting people – Confidence and self-esteem must come from within to succeed in staying sober; having supportive people around you is also important. Reach out to people you look up to and respect for support while also learning to let unhealthy, negative relationships go; this may help you see the good in yourself.
Focus on success instead of failures – It is easy to get tripped up over a failure, and while these are important to learn from, it’s unhealthy to lament over them for a long time. If we focus on each small success, we can appreciate them more when they occur.
Take responsibility – Take responsibility for cultivating your self-esteem and happiness, as these are things that come from within. Make an active decision each day to put in the work it takes to become a more confident, self-loving, and sober person until it becomes a natural habit.
Remember, once an individual decides to get sober, addressing issues with self-esteem is essential. Having low self-esteem in recovery can affect one’s ability to find happiness. Nonetheless, building confidence and self-esteem can be done; we believe in you.