After I hit my bottom and came into recovery I realized that I had super low self-esteem, and that those feelings would need to change somehow. I thought once I got sober that it would be a piece of cake. After all, my drinking was what caused all of my problems.
I was clueless.
GETTING TO KNOW MYSELF
I had never given any thought to why I felt the need to get smashed all the time in the first place, and I never anticipated how my newly awakened conscience would generate so many overwhelming feelings of guilt.
My sponsor said we all deserve love, especially during recovery, and one of the first steps we need to take is to learn how to love ourselves.
HOW I LEARNED
1. Put Guilt in its Proper Place
Guilt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, because it enables us to recognize when we’ve done something wrong. It became a problem for me, because I didn’t know how to work through it, so it piled up and became a chronic feeling of shame. That shame actually contributed to my drinking; it was a way to forget about it for a while. But it was a vicious cycle because I was also ashamed of all the messed up things I did while I was drinking! Now, whenever I feel guilt creeping in, I work through the reasons, make amends if necessary, and move on.
2. Make a List of Your Good Points
It seemed like a daunting task at first, because I’ve spent my entire life feeling like an epic failure. So, I broke it down. I took out a pad of sticky notes and made a practice to write down one good thing about myself every day and stick it on my calendar so I could remind myself the next day. Now I was developing a positive cycle instead of a vicious one.
3. Embrace your Mistakes
A wise person once told me that they were grateful for every mistake they had made in life, because it prepared them for what they are facing today. I realized I could use my experience to be a positive influence or support for other people in my life in a way never would have happened had my journey been different.
4. Kick your Comfort Zone to the Curb
Things that I could only dream about when I was drinking are possible now that I am sober. Trying something new, regardless of whether I am good at it or not, gives me a sense of accomplishment.
5. Get out of Your Own Head
Think of something you would like to do to help others and volunteer a little of your time. I donate a few hours a week at my local animal shelter. When I am focusing on the needs of the animals and my co-workers, it takes my mind off of my current challenges and gives me a feeling of gratitude.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Listen to your body and take care of it. Taking care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs has instilled in me a sense of self-worth that I never knew was possible.
7. Count your Blessings
Cliche, I know, but for a reason – it works. Taking stock of what you have to be grateful for opens your eyes to every blessing you receive and reinforces that you deserve love in your life.
8. Have Fun
Sobriety doesn’t have to be boring. Instead, it gave me the opportunity to try new things, from taking a creative writing class to going on a helicopter ride.
Remember, nobody’s perfect, and it’s certainly not a requirement for sobriety. Learning to love yourself in recovery might not happen overnight. That’s why we are taught to take one day a time.
If you or your loved one needs help, contact us today and feel free to talk to us about addiction treatment programs at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs. The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California.