addiction recoverySelf Esteem....We hear the term thrown around a lot these days.  What is it, how is it different from self-confidence, and what does it mean in terms of our recovery from addiction?

Self esteem is generally defined as our perception of ourselves.  “Good” self esteem includes being secure and accepting of who we are, flaws included.  We are happy with what we see in the mirror and comfortable in our own skin. Self confidence has to do with our perceived abilities to do or accomplish something.  It is usually a result of having been able to overcome certain obstacles, difficulties or challenges in the past.

Self esteem and self confidence are not mutually exclusive concepts.  It is common for one to affect the other.  It is important to strengthen both in addiction recovery.  Without self confidence, we are likely to feel that we cannot cope with life’s challenges unless we use drugs, alcohol or our addictive behaviors.  We may feel that recovery is not worth working at because relapse is inevitable and we will ultimately “fail” at yet another endeavor.  There can be a “what’s the use” attitude with low self-confidence.

Without a healthy self esteem, we may feel that we are not worthy of recovery or of experiencing good things in our lives.  We may think that others won’t want to spend time with us as we really are...sober.

Most people dealing with addiction feel low self esteem.  Many wonder if they became engaged in addictive behaviors because of low self esteem, or if their self esteem decreased as a result of their addictive behaviors.  But if we get bogged down with this chicken and egg type questions, we may never fully immerse ourselves in recovery.  And this will prevent us from building up our self confidence as well as our self esteem.

In addiction recovery we are taught that we must have humility.  It is easy to confuse the difference between low self esteem and humility.  To be humble is to recognize our mistakes and shortcomings and to graciously accept and use our strengths.  It is having a right-sized view of ourselves and others and our importance in the world around us.  It is seeing that we are part of a very big world and our needs and wants are equal with those around us.

Having humility allows us to improve both our self esteem as well as our self confidence.  By admitting our mistakes honestly to ourselves and to others as part of a program of rigorous honesty, we learn to feel confident that others not only can and will accept us, but will love us all the more for our mistakes and shortcomings.  We learn that we can handle emotional intensity, conflict and confrontation without the aid of drugs or alcohol.  As our self confidence grows, our self esteem will often follow.

Building self esteem is not a quick project, but can be done.  When we allow ourselves to be seen truly as we are, we realize that our imperfections and shortcomings are our gifts to share with others.  We can see and our mistakes are our battle scars that prove where we’ve been and that can help others.

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients for long term recovery.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center