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Prior to coming into recovery the only time I described my self-esteem is if it began with the word “low”. This was the only way I knew how to qualify any fragmented type of esteem that I may have had. Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves. Let me share with you some of the ways I have learned to boost my self esteem in recovery:
Whether it’s actually working out at the gym, swimming in a pool or simply getting outdoors to take a walk, physical activity always increases my endorphins and expands my self esteem. I know unequivocally I’m doing something good for myself and when I know I’m doing something FOR myself then I feel better ABOUT myself.
Getting actual visible physical results from this type of activity is just a bonus along the way, the activity in and of itself is where the real goodness comes from.
This gives me the greatest wholehearted sense of joy. I do not go into service work with the intention of gaining greater self esteem but I have noticed that it does come as a pleasant side effect. When I am being kind, loving and helpful to others it really makes me feel good. When I feel good about what I am doing then I feel good about who I am.
Taking some time to center myself spiritually is another great way to feel better about myself. When I participate in humility, being present, practicing gratitude and meditation then I feel a greater sense of connection and peace. I know that when I am not active in these practices I don’t feel as good about things in general, self esteem included.
Being a participant in a 12 step program like AA or NA involves honest regular self assessments. This is not exclusive to simply scrutinizing things I have done wrong or areas which I’m weak in, this means also truly understanding the assets that I have and appreciating them. Yes, I do regularly work on righting my wrongdoings, but I also equally and regularly practice acknowledging the things that I do right and the things I like about myself. When I can be in a mindset that is kind and loving to myself, it is easier to have that kindness and love spill into my self esteem.
This one! This is always the best way to boost my self esteem if I’m really having a hard time. Remembering clearly and vividly who I was before coming into recovery and seeing who I am today brings me a great deal of perspective on how far I’ve come and how I’ve grown in so many ways. It’s hard NOT to get a self esteem boost when the measure of esteem is marked from one’s lowest point in life to current. I actively work on not measuring myself to who I could be or what I don’t have, but always who I have become and what I have done in my recovery time.
This may seem a bit trivial following the spiritual examples of how to boost my self esteem, but treating myself definitely holds a place on this list. Even right now, I just finished a nice lunch that I bought myself to eat while writing this blog. Do I feel better about myself because I now have the means to do something nice for myself? Yes, yes I do. I lived a life where I only took from myself and rarely gave back to myself. Maybe it’s a nice lunch, a new jacket, going for a massage to relax after a busy week, or whatever it may be. The occasional treat to myself is a gesture of love back to myself and makes me feel good.
Creativity absolutely bolsters my self esteem. When I am able to truly express myself in whichever means I choose, I am displaying authenticity at my core. This is actually one of the first tools I utilize if I feel my self esteem dwindling. I paint, I draw, I bake, I get adventurous with music or clothing. There is something about creating that connects me back to me. When I am able to exist in a place of creativity I am in my most authentic state and I value this tremendously.
Living a life in recovery has allowed me ways to bolster my once damaged and deflated sense of self, and although it has been a process continually in the making, I can actually say today that I sincerely like who I am. If there are ever times when my self-esteem waivers, I know that I have tools in place to help bring it back.
At Stairway Resource Center, we understand it’s difficult to admit that you need help, but acknowledging that you’re struggling with addiction and seeking help is a courageous step towards reclaiming control of your life. Contact us today, our dedicated team of experts has been carefully selected to provide exceptional treatment, ensuring that you or your loved one have the highest possible chance of achieving lasting recovery.
Director of Alumni and Case Management
Heidi has been working in the field of addiction for the past 4 years, has a RADT and moonlights as a blogger and Brainpaint Neurofeedback Technician. If asked, there is nothing in the recovery field that Heidi won’t do to learn more or to be of service to the newcomers.
As alumni and outreach coordinator, Heidi feels she has the unique opportunity to keep continuity in the community- even after people have finished their initial SUD programming.
Events range from seasonal activities, fundraisers, service events and special interest activities.
Heidi is excited to perpetually generate more community cohesiveness, fun & gratitude for others and herself.