Building Self-Esteem in Drug Rehab
Why is it so hard to get rid of all the terrible events that we have experienced from our past? Throw addiction into the mix and you have the perfect recipe for poor self-esteem. Poor self-esteem contributes to you seeking substance abuse to self-medicate and eventually finding that you need drug rehab. Your self-esteem first gets dragged through the mud of addiction. Then after you are sober, shame from the past has a negative impact on your self-esteem.
Entering detox is difficult enough, but after drugs and alcohol leave your system, you are left with a flood of emotions: From fear to faith, doubt to self-assurance and chaos to order. This wave of emotion has a negative impact on your self-esteem because you are unsure about what you are feeling. The emotions attached to past events continue to damage your sense of self and well-being. Confusion about how to manage emotions sets in and you beat yourself up with negative thoughts. These thoughts are usually judgments about past behaviors such as lying, cheating, stealing, promiscuity, weight fluctuations, poor decisions and substance abuse. All of the negative thoughts and emotions attached to the past tear down your self-esteem. Poor self-esteem impacts negative patterns of thinking and behaving and this cycle continues until you make changes. Eliminating drug and alcohol use helps when you are making changes needed to increase self-esteem.
Making the first step and entering drug rehab helps rebuild your self-esteem. In rehab, you can learn about how to make healthier decisions, set boundaries and resolve underlying emotions. Healthy decisions pave the road to increasing self-esteem. Along the way you may have picked up the unhealthy habit of talking negatively to yourself. This negative language is the result of what you believe about yourself. For example, if I believe that I don’t deserve to have a say in my relationship because of all the bad things I’ve done in my addiction, I am telling myself I am not worthy. Shame is a closely tied partner to low self-esteem for addicts.
Building Blocks for Self-Esteem
Learn to trust yourself again
- We second-guess ourselves because of our past issues with addiction. We have to actively listen to our inner voice, especially when it is trying to protect us. Start by bouncing decisions off someone you trust who has been sober for a period of time in the program. Slowly, you can decrease this dependency and eventually trust yourself about decisions.
Surround yourself with positive people
- “Birds of a feather flock together.” While I hated this statement especially growing up, it’s true. If you surround yourself with negative people you will become more negative in your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Set healthy boundaries in relationships – don’t compromise your morals and values
- Not everyone is going to like you, nor do you need everyone to like you. The truth is setting healthy boundaries is good for you. When you first set boundaries you may think that you are being mean, but rest assured that you are not. You are being healthy.
Reframe negative thinking
- You are your worst enemy. Being critical and judgmental in thoughts both toward yourself and others diminishes your self-esteem. Practice changing negative thoughts.
Practice positive affirmations
- One of the hardest things for addicts to do is find positive characteristics about themselves. You will have to sit and work on learning to love yourself again. Positive affirmations are important to do daily, especially when working at increasing your self-esteem.
Set and complete goals
- Procrastination and uncompleted goals are enemies of self-esteem. There is a special sense of worth and well-being that comes from completing goals that you have set. Make sure to set goals that are attainable for you now.