What Role Does Self-Esteem Play in Recovery?

Mar 14, 2022

Self-confidence is the bedrock you build your life on. If you do not think this is true, it is time to rethink how you value yourself. Take a moment and explore how a positive or negative view of yourself affects your life choices and recovery. 

Your Outlook

Without knowing it, you make decisions based on your feelings about yourself. Whether it is low or high self-esteem, you subconsciously choose a path that can change your life. Healthy self-esteem is vital because you feel good and exude a sense of knowledge, compassion, and vibrance when you have a positive view of yourself. 

As a result, you behave responsibly, grow as a person, and are productive in whatever tasks you undertake. Instead of tearing others down, you find ways to celebrate their triumphs and help them when they are in need. Overall, you can face anything, knowing you have healthy coping skills and a support system. Unfortunately, low self-esteem does the opposite. You can experience harmful feelings or behaviors.

Low Self-Esteem

Suppose you have a poor view of yourself. Low self-esteem is a factor in mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. If you have low self-esteem, you can feel you are not worthy of good things in life. When you have negative feelings, you hurt yourself and those around you. Admittedly, you may not know the damage being done, but you can begin to heal and grow if you recognize the following symptoms of low self-esteem:

  • Unhealthy relationships. Your friendships with your loved ones or colleagues reflect how you feel about yourself. These relationships also can affect your choices and behaviors. The interactions that occur with others can define you as a person. Therefore, unhealthy relationships can be a catalyst for harmful feelings about yourself. Remember what you learned while in substance addiction treatment; people and places make a difference. Growing and changing are almost impossible if harmful influences surround you.
  • Addiction. According to a 2016 article on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, psychologists and researchers found a connection between low self-esteem in childhood or young adulthood with alcohol or drug addiction. The use of alcohol or drugs was a form of escapism that, over time, became an addiction. Unfortunately, the dangerous cycle between low self-esteem and addiction creates an almost never-ending cycle unless you begin substance addiction treatment.
  • Mental health disorders. Poor self-esteem has a detrimental effect on your mental health. While you may have depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem, it is often hard to say which was first. That is because, like addiction, low self-esteem and mental health disorders are a cruel cycle.

Positive Self-Esteem

Respecting and loving yourself is the foundation of high self-esteem. High self-esteem can also go a long way in maintaining your sobriety. So how do you know if you have healthy self-esteem? Here are a few signs:

  • Worthiness. If you believe you deserve love, happiness, success, or respect, you know you are worthy. Each of these aspects requires you to believe you deserve the positive things in your life. They also indicate you feel love, contentment, and respect when you think about yourself.
  • Mistakes. Healthy self-esteem includes being okay with making mistakes. You understand you are not perfect, and that others do not expect you to always be perfect. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. For example, if you relapse, you can reach out to your alumni group or support group to help you start again. A relapse is when you learn more about yourself and your triggers. 
  • Comparisons. When you have healthy self-esteem, you do not need to compare yourself to others. For example, say you are active in your support or alumni group; you can listen to others and know you do not have to be where they are to recover successfully.
  • Be yourself. Being comfortable with who you are is an essential part of high self-esteem. Your values, independence, and sense of control connect with feeling good about yourself. You also willingly accept criticism and responsibility.

Positive Self-Esteem in Recovery

When you are in recovery, you are also learning and growing. You can build your self-confidence during this process because it continues to adapt and form as you experience different events. Take comfort in knowing you are a work in progress. Like any work in progress, your environment and the people you surround yourself with can influence you. The lessons you learn and messages you receive can hurt or help your sobriety. For this reason, finding healthy people and environments is crucial. Stay connected with your substance addiction treatment center and therapist, and involve yourself in their aftercare programs. 

Find activities you enjoy. The holistic therapies you engaged in while in alcohol or drug treatment guided you to explore who you are. Did you gravitate to a specific activity? If you did, keep that activity as a daily or regular part of your routine. Whether physical, creative, or mindful, healthy pastimes help you re-focus and find your inner strength and values. Whenever you feel depressed, anxious, or exhausted, use your preferred activity to help you connect, assess, and do your best. 

Your self-esteem shapes who you are and the decisions you make. Poor self-esteem can create rifts in relationships, unhealthy self-images, and feeling unworthy. A lack of respect for yourself endangers your physical and mental health. If you find yourself following a path of self-destruction because of a dangerous habit like substance addiction, consider entering a substance addiction treatment program like Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers. At Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers, our male-only programs guide you to understand your addiction. We use clinically proven practices to fit your needs. Throughout your stay with us, we strive to integrate and ensure your physical, mental, and spiritual needs into your treatment. We also encourage you to stay involved once you complete treatment by participating in our aftercare and Alumni groups. Whether you need detox, inpatient, or outpatient care, we are here to serve you. We welcome your questions about our programs. Call us at (801) 308-8898.