Building Your Self-Esteem Through Self-Talk


Many people in recovery from addiction have spent a lot of their life “beating themselves up” when things don’t go their way. Negative self-talk is usually one thing that people in recovery have in common. People don’t use drugs because they are happy with themselves or their lives. You probably don’t look too highly upon yourself.

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Everyone has thoughts in their head that are negative or positive. You may get angry with yourself and put yourself down when things don’t go your way. For example, do you call yourself “stupid,” “worthless,” “dumb” or other insulting words when you mess up? This is negative self-talk that ultimately harms your mental health. By calling yourself names, you’re saying you don’t value yourself. And you’re not stupid, worthless, or dumb. You simply feel that way from time to time, like all humans do.

Putting yourself down through negative self-talk is an ugly pattern you’ve got to break. You might believe that you can’t control these thoughts, but that’s not true.

People with substance use disorders often suffer from low self-esteem. You may obsess about things you’ve done wrong or things you consider failures.

Maybe you merely think you’re “no good” and not meant to succeed in anything.

You’re wrong, and it’s time to change your self-talk. You believe these things because you tell yourself to believe them.

Turning Your Self-Talk Positive

To change your self-talk that’s inside your head, you’ve got to practice through a few activities.

  • Practice self-talk by creating affirmations about yourself, focusing on the things you “beat yourself up” about the most. For example, if you get angry at yourself because you feel like you’re too fat or too scrawny, change your narrative. Write “I’m perfect exactly the way I am” and read it out loud to yourself. If you have negative self-talk when you take a school test, study hard and practice saying, “I studies hard for this test, and I deserve a good grade.”
  • Write down five things you accomplish every day. This might mean doing your job at work every day, going on a walk to take care of your health, or writing in your journal. Every day you do amazing things that you couldn’t do when you were using drugs and alcohol. Celebrate them.
  • Start a gratitude list. Being grateful helps us have a better attitude toward the world around us and our relationship to it. If you can’t find anything you’re thankful for, start with the basics such as food, shelter, and your favorite part of a meal. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for every night and read them over at the end of the week.

Changing your negative self-talk can take some time, but it’s worth it. After all, your happiness is important. Your relationship with yourself is important. Learning to care about yourself, and accept yourself is a massive accomplishment in recovery. Working toward this goal will make you healthier and stronger as you follow your new path in life.

Getting Help for an Addiction

Do you or somebody you love need help with an addiction? We can help you start your journey to recovery. Please give us a 100% confidential call to learn more about how we can help. We’re available at 1-800-970-9774.


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Stephen White - True Life Recovery

Thank you for reading our latest article. My name is Stephen White, Director of Business Development for True Life Recovery. If you or your loved one needs help with addiction recovery, please don’t hesitate to call me directly. I am passionate about what I do, and here to answer any questions, support you, and guide you on your journey towards recovery. Let’s take the first step to a brighter future together. Call me at 714-909-2337 now!

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