In our active addiction, we sacrifice our morals and ethics for the sake of our continued substance abuse. This has a profound effect on our self esteem, causing us to lose both our identity and sense of self worth. Now that you have transitioned to sobriety, it is important for you to work on restoring a healthy level of self esteem, as without a healthy sense of value a person is far less likely to stay sober. How can you go about rebuilding a healthy level of self esteem in sobriety?
The most effective step you can take to rebuild self esteem is to perform selfless acts for others. There is truth to the saying “Those with esteem do esteemable acts”, and you will be amazed at how good you feel about yourself after doing service work. While there are plenty of opportunities for service work within your 12-step recovery program, you need not limit yourself to the rooms of AA to find ways in which you can help others. Dedicate some of your time each week to volunteer work, either within the rooms of recovery or at your local food bank or community center, and enjoy the rewards this service work offers you in the form of a boost in your self esteem.
Another important step to take in your quest to improve your self esteem is coming to terms with and letting go of your past. One of the lessons we learn as we work the 12 steps of recovery is our past does not determine our present, and our bad behavior in the past does not define who we are in the here and now. This idea will take root in your mind as you diligently work the 12 steps, so use your desire to improve your self esteem as motivation to complete your step work in a timely manner. Our alcoholism and drug addiction is merely arrested when we first get sober, the real treatment of our disease is the completion of the 12 steps of recovery. You will be amazed at the difference in your mindset and level of self esteem after you have progressed through the 12 steps, so focus on this important work in your sobriety in order to improve your self esteem and positive mindset!
Self esteem is an important aspect of our mental health, determining our willingness to put effort into our lives and into our recovery. It is somewhat paradoxical that effort is required to build self esteem while at the same time self esteem is a driving force behind our willingness to put forth effort. In these early stages you must therefore “fake it till you make it” operating on faith that the advice given you by those who have come before you in recovery will bear out in your life. Start small, giving an hour of your time to a volunteer organization and spending 20 minutes a day on stepwork. You may be surprised how quickly and effectively these minimal actions improve your self esteem, giving you some momentum so you may power through your recovery work and achieve lasting sobriety!