In recovery, you can repair relationships that may have been damaged during active addiction. As I’ve found in my own recovery, one of the most important is with yourself.
Repairing Damage from Active Addiction
Low self-esteem and shame are often factors (of many others) that lead people to drink or use drugs—but addiction exacerbates them. During active addiction, we tend to let others down, leading to guilt and low self-image. Often when we’re drinking or using addictively, we stop taking care of ourselves; this can make us feel like we don’t deserve care and further hurt our self-esteem.
I’ve found that a big part of my recovery has been healing my relationship to self—and perhaps making it stronger than it ever was. During active addiction, I didn’t believe that I could make good decisions or take care of myself. The more I’ve kept promises and made decisions that prioritize my mental and emotional health, the more I can trust myself. Learning to trust others is important, but so is having faith in your own choices.
Sticking to my recovery program has built a lot of confidence, for a number of reasons. For one, a lot of the things I do for recovery actively build self-esteem.
Therapy helps me notice when I’m getting lost in negative self-talk. Meditation teaches me to sit with myself, flaws and all, and embrace all of it. Engaging in hobbies and learning about recovery both teach me who I am, and honoring my interests feels like acknowledging that they are important. On top of all that, I’m proud of staying sober and the work I’ve put in.
Coping With Regrets From Active Addiction
Another part of healing your relationship to self in recovery is confronting your regrets and shame from active addiction. It’s possible to hold yourself accountable for the ways you hurt people, while showing compassion for your former self who was in pain.
In fact, taking responsibility for your past actions is a form of self-love. It says that you expect more of yourself and want to grow. We’ve shared some tips for working towards self-forgiveness here, and for making amends here.
You have to live with yourself all day every day, so it’s incredibly cathartic to heal damaged self-worth. Recovery gives you the opportunity to do that healing—which will benefit all of your other relationships.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you figure out who you are without substances and build self-esteem in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.