Relationship between Self Esteem and Addiction
Self-esteem refers to an individual’s subjective feelings of personal value and self-worth. It can affect many areas of life, including substance use and recovery. It’s important to understand that, in many cases, there is not necessarily a direct connection between low self esteem and addiction. Many other factors can play a role in drug abuse causes, such as family history, other mental or behavioral disorders, and more.
Low self-esteem has been linked to the onset of drug use. Research has also shown a connection between low self esteem and addiction exploits, including internet addiction, eating problems, and compulsive buying . While alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors can initially mask insecurities and make people feel more confident, these feelings are short-lived. The relationship between self esteem and addiction recovery is tangible and should be part of your therapy plan.
Over time, grappling with the effect of low self esteem and addiction can harm a person and make a recovery more complex. Whether you’re contemplating doing something about your addiction or are already on the road to recovery, the tips here can help rebuild your self-esteem and improve your well-being and outlook. Addiction affects self-esteem because a substance use disorder is a uniquely dehumanizing condition. The addict ends up doing things they would have considered unimaginable that are contrary to their core values.
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How Low Self-Esteem Can Lead To Substance Abuse & Relapse – Addiction Self Esteem
Often, substance abuse is tied to a person’s mental state, and without mental health treatment, that person may turn to drugs and alcohol. While poor mental health can mean various things, low self-esteem is common.
Self esteem And Addiction Recovery
Addicts typically have lower self-esteem than the average person. When someone is insecure or lacks confidence, they may struggle with negative thoughts about themselves. To escape this constant negativity or drown their sorrows, some people will turn to drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, this coping creates an unhealthy pattern, leading to low self esteem and addiction.
In recovery, addicts try to find healthier ways of coping with their low self-esteem, but old habits die hard. New coping strategies alone may not be enough, and low self-esteem could lead to relapse. The best way to building self esteem after addiction is to focus on the root cause and address them.
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Risk Factors Of Low Self-Esteem And Addiction Recovery
Often, people wonder what makes people want to choose to use and abuse drugs and alcohol in the first place. The answer to this can be complex, as addictive behaviors vary from person to person, but mainly because various factors increase the likelihood of addiction.
Low self esteem and addiction recovery failures are commonly linked. The common reasons why people turn to the use of substances include but are not limited to the following:
- It’s a choice that results in consequences
- Family history of substance abuse (Genetics)
- Co-occurring mental illness
- Coping mechanism (Self-Medication)
- Environmental factors and peer pressure
Addiction is a chronic disease that severely affects the brain and body. While this is true, neurological functions are not the sole cause of substance use disorders (SUD). Many different components play a role in the grounds of addiction.
In other words, drug and alcohol addiction is not just the result of one factor in a user’s life. Instead, a combination of them exposes people to this destructive path. Three main areas of risk factors contribute to dependency and addiction. They are as follows:
- Biological Predispositions: Drug and alcohol addiction is 50 percent attributed to genetics. In addition, research has shown that children who are the product of addicts are approximately eight times more likely to become one themselves. Not everyone with a family history of substance abuse will be an addict, but the probability and susceptibility of becoming addicted are high. Males are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol than women.
- Environmental Factors and Influences: The environment that you are in has a significant effect and influence on people’s behaviors. For example, being at home or school influences the possible development of substance use disorders. As mentioned before, having a family history of drug use and alcoholism increases the chances of someone else having the same genetic predisposition for addiction. Peer pressure and fitting in are considerable risk factors for addiction and stress at work. Feelings of stress and anxiety in these environments are normal but often result in the gravitation towards substances, as people believe it will help them cope or forget what they are feeling. Instead, it exacerbates the situation, resulting in many physical, mental, and social health problems.
- Drug Choice and Methods of Use: The likelihood of addiction depends on the drug or alcoholic beverage of choice. Especially with drugs, the potency of certain drugs leads to dependency and addiction. One use of a drug is usually all it takes, which commonly leads to polysubstance abuse, meaning the use of one or more substances. Medication is accepted if it is snorted, injected, or in pill form. Smoking or injected drugs have a much faster euphoric or high effect on the body.
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Tips For Building Self Esteem and Addiction Recovery Success
While low self esteem and addiction recovery co-occurring disorder treatment could help you address some of these issues in rehab, improvements will not happen magically overnight. Therefore, it is essential to continue to focus on building your confidence after addiction and learning to love yourself in recovery after your program ends. Fortunately, you can take steps to move this process along and give yourself a better chance of long-term success in recovery.
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Building Self Esteem in Recovery
Some Of The Best Ways Of Increasing Self Esteem in Recovery from Addiction Include (Self Esteem in Addiction Recovery):
- Forgiving your past mistakes
- Focusing on the positive
- Practicing self-care
- Continuing treatment
- Practicing positive affirmations
- Building a positive support system
Forgiving Past Mistakes
You will never boost your self-esteem in recovery if you don’t let go of the past. Many people do things they are not proud of when they are inactive addiction, but other than making amends, there is likely not a lot you can do about it now. So forgive yourself and look toward a bright future.
Focusing On The Positive
Although you may still have a long way to go before you get to where you want to be, it is essential to focus on the positives and the progress you have already made. Getting sober is a huge step; acknowledge it. Building self esteem after addiction will come naturally when you focus on your growth and the good in your life instead of getting bogged down by negative thoughts.
It is hard to feel good about yourself when you aren’t taking care of yourself. Increasing self esteem in recovery from addiction may be as simple as putting time aside for more self-care. Exercising, eating healthy, and following a good sleep routine can help you feel better physically and mentally, boosting self-esteem in sobriety. Similarly, self-care could help you repair the damage left behind from addiction to your physical appearance, such as sores, track marks, or dental health problems. When you look good, you feel good.
Your care shouldn’t end when you leave an inpatient drug rehab. Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and you likely need continued care to continue seeing progress and growth. In addition, continuing therapy at home and becoming involved in the recovery community can help you continue building self esteem after addiction.
Practicing Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations can go a long way in improving self-esteem and self-love in recovery. Whether you say them aloud or write them down in a place you will see regularly, take time each day to practice positive affirmations. It may feel awkward initially, and you may not fully believe them, but eventually, that will change.
Building A Positive Support System
Besides going through this journey alone, another way of building self esteem after addiction is to find a positive support group. Now is the time to not only break away from people with who you used to drink or do drugs but also those who are unsupportive. Instead, focus on creating healthy relationships with people who build you up, not tear you down. When those around you support and speak positively of you, it is easier to love yourself.
A good support system can make you feel valuable, hence improving self esteem and addiction recovery. Also, knowing that other people believe in you can help you believe in yourself. Enhancing self esteem and addiction recovery is just part of the battle.
Building Self Esteem After Addiction
Self-determination can also play an important role in building self esteem after addiction. People demonstrate self-determination when making conscious and intentional choices due to their motivations.
To achieve a successful recovery from substance or alcohol use, it is vital to have a strong sense of self-determination. Self-determination is rooted in one’s belief that you have the skills, motivation, and ability to succeed in achieving your recovery goals. When slips do happen, however, they can hurt this sense of self-determination and can also lead to a feeling of failure.
It is important to be patient when making changes to your life. Every small step in the right direction can boost your self-esteem.
If a significant change seems too overwhelming, break it down into more minor acts, and choose to do one a day or one a week, whichever you feel most comfortable with. With each small change, celebrate your success in moving toward your goal.
Start A New Life
Addictions can make it challenging to feel good about yourself and your abilities, primarily if you focus on past mistakes. Building a strong sense of self-esteem can be an important part of the recovery process, so finding ways to build your belief in yourself can make it easier to appreciate your strengths and take note of your progress.
If a person enters a drug and alcohol recovery program and becomes sober, he or she must also rebuild his or her life after addiction. Initially, the recovering user will have to conquer withdrawal symptoms and cravings to use again to continue sobriety. Returning to the real world after spending years of substance abuse can be like coming out of a cave.
The transitional process requires several changes, steps, and resolutions to be successful. If you are working on your recovery or recently became sober and want to continue that path after rehab, you must follow all the steps outlined by your counselor.
Those just beginning to rebuild their lives after substance abuse often think they are ready to jump back into the world. However, they soon realize they are not yet ready for full involvement in life. They feel reinvigorated, but this initial burst of energy will often pass. They should moderate their lifestyle and relationships until they feel confident that they can function independently. The pace of life will likely feel quite different now than before addiction, and it may take time to get used to this new reality. However, remember that recovery from substance abuse takes time and effort; slow and steady wins the race!
Many substance abusers have committed immoral acts or failed during their previous lifestyle of substance abuse. Even though these actions occurred during the addiction era, they still caused people to become upset or have animosity toward them. However, most loved ones will be happy to have you back healthy and sober and begin to realize the influence of old wounds can heal as time goes on. It is crucial to quickly and efficiently find ways to repair any damage you previously caused and make sure you make things right with those who may be upset by your past actions.
After rehab, it is important to adjust to life and find time to discuss what is expected of you in detail. But now that friends and family have given you the ground rules, you’ll have to follow through on it moving forward. You beat substance abuse and addiction; now it is time to change other habits correlating to how you relate to others, things you do for them, handling obligations, and more.
Substance addiction has left a big hole in your life, and now is the time to fill that hole with something productive, engaging, and fun. If you’re looking for new hobbies, try volunteering, pursuing further education, or other positive and fulfilling hobbies to keep life on track.
At We Level Up, patient clinical teams can help you recognize low self esteem and addiction recovery obstacles. Your treatment teams help prepare patients for all of the ups and downs that they are likely to face long after their time with us is through. So, if you or a loved one is looking for treatment for a substance abuse disorder that will lead to lasting sobriety, let us step in. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our professionals know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
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Some resources for strengthening your self-esteem
If you’re on the path of improving your self-esteem, you can read “Self-Esteem Fast Proven Treatment for Recovery From Low Self-Esteem” by Dr. Jennifer Alison. Another way of working on your self-esteem by yourself is researching self esteem worksheets for recovering addicts online, and that way start to work on that even from home.
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- NCBI – The Role of Self-esteem in Tendency towards Drugs, Theft, and Prostitution
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