Addiction can take a huge toll on your emotional health and your self-esteem. Many former addicts report feeling like a failure when they finally hit rock bottom. The lack of self-esteem can cause you to stay stuck if you don’t do intentional things to improve it. While raw honesty is critical when you are looking at your past choices, the truth is that your future isn’t set in stone.
You still have value and worth, and you can make new decisions that give you a different future. Self-esteem isn’t just something that happens spontaneously. You can nurture it over time through positive reinforcement and actions. It can be difficult in early sobriety when life feels out of control, but here are several ideas for boosting your self-esteem:
Make Friends Who Have a Positive Outlook on Life
Being around positive and confident people can rub off on you. One of the most important things you can do for your recovery is to surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook on life. These are the types of friends who will lift you up when you’re feeling down and encourage you when it feels like nothing is going right. They’ll listen when you need someone to talk to, but they won’t let themselves get dragged down by all of your problems either. They will be a support, but can also confidently point out when you are being sucked into harmful mindsets.
Bring a Companion to Events
One way to boost your confidence in being able to avoid the temptation of drugs or alcohol is to bring a companion to events. The presence of another person can help keep your mind off of drinking and instead helps you enjoy the event. This can help you build your confidence as you go longer and longer in recovery. Hiring a sober companion is one way to be sure that you can always say yes to the events you want to go to. A sober companion is a professional who can help you avoid many of the temptations and triggers you find at events that serve alcohol. By bringing them with you, you can enjoy the fun, while knowing that you have someone there to help you if you start to feel weak and tempted.
Limit your Exposure to Toxic People and Messages
Toxic people—even family members—can drag you down. It’s important to limit your exposure to them as much as possible and to set healthy boundaries around what you’re okay with and what you’re not okay with. You’ll also want to focus on reading addiction recovery success stories and listening to people who spread positivity, not all doom and gloom. Keeping the toxic messaging to a minimum can help you replace older harmful mindsets with newer positive ones that improve your self-esteem. You can be free from addiction, and that’s the message you need to hear.
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill can help you feel more confident in your abilities and give you a sense of accomplishment. It can also help you meet new people. Learning to cook French pastries or learning how to refinish furniture can give you a lot more self-confidence. You can learn new things from online courses, community classes, and even college level classes.
Practice Daily Affirmations
Daily affirmations are positive statements about yourself that you repeat several times a day. They can be written down, spoken out loud, or even sung. This technique has been shown to help people with low self-esteem feel better about themselves and achieve their goals. As these new messages become ingrained in your brain, they will replace old ones that caused you to feel defeated and not confident.
Help Others in Your Community
One of the best ways to boost your self-esteem is by helping others. If you’re struggling with addiction recovery, it can be easy to feel like your life has lost all meaning. Volunteering for a local charity can help you be more confident. It can also be humbling when you realize how much your life has changed since you started on your recovery journey.
Go Outside and Get Some Sunshine and Fresh Air
Another way to boost your self-esteem is to get fresh air and sunshine. Take a walk, run, or ride a bike. Sit in a chair in the sun and read a good book. Enjoying the outdoors has a positive effect on your mood and can help you while you are in addiction recovery.