A person who is struggling with addiction will lose his sense of self worth. Self worth is what the person thinks of himself. If a person feels good about himself, he will treat himself well and value his recovery even more. Building self worth in recovery is a necessary attribute for a happy, contented sobriety.
Here are a few ways to increase feelings of self worth:
When a person sets realistic and clear goals, and then achieves them, a sense of accomplishment develops. The more successes a person experiences, the better the person feels about himself.
Avoiding Harmful Secrets
When a person holds secrets, the secrets are usually about problem behaviors or things the person has done and is not proud of. Building self worth in recovery requires freeing oneself of secrets. Secrets and the guilt related to the secrets can control a person. That is why secrets are harmful to recovery. As a person is ready to let go of his secrets, the secrets must be exposed. This is when a trusted confidante is important.
Being Realistic About Abilities
Knowing what one is and is not capable of, and of what one can and cannot handle, is a part of having a realistic self-perception. Building self worth in recovery must involve an objective idea of one’s strengths and weaknesses. When a person is not realistic about his abilities he will have either a low opinion of his abilities or an overly high opinion of his abilities, neither of which is indicative of a healthy sense of self worth.
Engaging in Self Care
Self care involves physical activity, good nutrition, quality sleep, leisure time and fun among other things. When a person is building self worth in recovery, his external appearance will slowly improve as his level of self care improves. A person who values himself will reflect it on the inside and the outside.
Sticking to One’s Values
Part of building self worth in recovery is defining one’s values and standing by them. Values are what a person believes to be right and wrong, important and not important. To strengthen self worth, one’s actions should match one’s values. When a person is actively using drugs or alcohol, the person’s actions increasingly do not match his values. That leads to shame, guilt, anxiety, depression and other negative feelings that destroy self worth. Once a person has defined his core values, he then has a clear structure for guiding his behaviors.
Using Positive Self Talk
What a person says to himself can build up or tear down his self worth. Self talk feeds the beliefs and ideas that exist in a person’s psyche. It’s this simple: negative self talk will feed a person’s negative views of himself; positive self talk will feed the person’s positive views of himself. Someone who is struggling with self worth is feeding himself negative self-observations. Building self worth in recovery means retraining oneself to substitute negative self talk with positive self talk.
Self Worth is an Attitude
Practicing the elements that contribute to positive self worth will make positive self worth a person’s overriding attitude and approach in life. Building self worth in recovery takes time and occurs in small steps as a person moves along in sobriety one day at a time.