So, you’ve made the decision to get sober. You’ve gone to detox or treatment, or stopped using on your own and now you’re trying to get a hang of living life sober. You feel like you’re doing everything right, but you have this nagging self-talk that is critical and judgemental about your every move. This type of self talk is actually pretty common in early addiction recovery, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can change your self talk and increase your self worth and confidence. Here are a few tips for how to increase self-worth in addiction recovery:
Surround yourself with positive healthy people that support your recovery
It’s really important when you’re getting sober to surround yourself with healthy, positive support people. Seek out family and friends who will affirm your choice to get sober and are willing and happy to do sober activities with you. If you don’t have any family or friends who are supportive of your recovery, attend sober support groups such as AA or NA and start to form a group of sober friends that affirm and support you.
Practice positive self talk and affirmations
Addiction can lead to painful consequences and broken relationships. Some people feel a lot of guilt and shame when they get sober because of what might have happened while they were using. Some people had negative core beliefs about themselves before they started using, and used substances to escape these negative beliefs. It’s really important to begin to talk to yourself in healthy and positive ways when you stop using in order to build positive self -worth and reduce the risk of relapse. Begin by choosing an affirmation every day that is present tense and true. Some examples are: “I am worthy”, “I deserve recovery”, or “I am good enough just the way I am”. Say the affirmation to yourself out loud at least 20 times per day while looking at yourself in the mirror. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier every day, and can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself. Another important part of building self-worth is noticing critical and judgemental self talk and replacing it with healthy self-talk. A helpful strategy is writing down the negative statements and then writing out healthier statements in order to practice restructuring your thoughts.
Engage in behavior that makes you feel good about yourself
Another effective way of increasing self worth is to engage in behavior that makes you feel good about yourself. For example, waking up early and getting to work on time contributes to more positive thoughts about yourself then if you had slept through your alarm and were late to work. Make a list of all of the behaviors or things you do that make you feel good about yourself and try to practice some of these each day. Everyone has their own unique list of behaviors that make them feel good about themselves in healthy ways, but here are some common examples: Stay sober, go to a meeting, exercise, call sponsor, pray or meditate. Practicing behaviors that make you feel good about yourself will help you build self-worth and self confidence over time.
I hope this article gives you some ideas on how to increase your self worth in addiction recovery. If you have tried some of my suggestions but you are still struggling with negative self-talk, it might be helpful for you to see a therapist who can help guide you through the process.