Many people in recovery struggle with self-esteem. Do you put yourself down when something doesn’t go your way? Do you feel like things are always your fault, or you just can’t handle certain situations? Negative self-talk and feelings of self-loathing can be very detrimental to your mental health. If you’re struggling with learning to like (and love) yourself, it’s time to take control. You don’t have to make yourself miserable if you don’t want to.
To boost your self-esteem, you’re going to have to do some work. Luckily, we’re talking about baby steps, not climbing mountains! Taking control of how you treat yourself is a process. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t automatically feel like a new person! Everything in recovery is a day at a time for a reason. Just show up and do the work, and eventually, your feelings will follow.
Self-Esteem Building Exercises
Here are some exercises to try over the next few weeks. Not all of them will give you immediate results, so please don’t believe in magic! Just try them. If you’re running out of options and feel like none of them work, ask for help at a 12-step meeting or therapy session.
- Pay attention to your negative thoughts. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts. After you snap the band, remind yourself that you’re in recovery and working on living a day at a time. (Say it out loud if nobody is around!)
- Initiate a conversation at your next 12-step meeting. People with low self-esteem tend to be shy or feel unimportant. You may feel “less than” and fear talking to others who have been sober longer. Just for today, take the time to talk to somebody whose message touched you at a meeting.
- Make a list of all of the things you’re good at. Once you finish, ask a trusted loved one (such as your spouse, mom, or best friend) to listen. Do they have any suggestions? What have you missed about yourself?
- Be the “helper.” When you go to meetings, ask the person who is setting up, “How can I help?” Then follow through. Do the same at events, therapy, or even when you visit your parents. People will appreciate you, and you’ll feel good about helping out.
- Start using affirmations. Some people think that they’re cheesy or don’t work, but studies have shown that affirmations can help you change your attitude. What do you think you beat yourself up about the most? Do you dwell on the past or obsess over mistakes? Start to change your self-talk in your head. When you start thinking something negative, use your affirmation cards to change the tone of your thoughts. For example, if you tell yourself, “I always mess up when I apply for a job!” then you probably won’t feel motivated to find a job. Try, instead, to be upbeat. A good affirmation for this would be, “I persevere when I face problems, and will focus on my positive traits until I go to the next interview.” Or: “There is a job out there for me! I will keep trying until I find it!”
Getting Help for Addiction
Getting help for addiction is easy, but reaching out can be difficult. We have staff that cares about you and wants to help you reclaim your life. We know it’s scary, but we can walk you through the steps you need to take and help you plan your next move. Give us a call at 800-970-8774 to start your journey.