One unhealthy behavior which often rears its head in early sobriety is a desire to receive approval from others. This occurs due to our holding on to guilt and shame stemming from our past actions, preventing us from building self-esteem on our own. It is important you correct this unhealthy behavior quickly, creating a healthy image of yourself and learning to love who you are today. How can you go about doing this so you no longer seek validation and approval from those around you?
The first step in this process is coming to terms with your past, accepting for what it is but understanding that your past does not define your present. Any traumatic events you experienced or negative emotions you are holding on to must be addressed and processed, or else you will never be able to move forward free from the baggage of your past. This may require the assistance of a professional therapist, especially if you have experience substantial trauma over the course of your life. Talk to your sponsor and listen to any advice they offer regarding your best option for handling these sensitive issues.
Once you have come to terms with your past, it is time to build a healthy picture of yourself in the present. It is said that those with high self esteem do esteemable acts, so if you want to build your self esteem you should follow this model to achieve your goal! Service work is an excellent option available to you, either in your local 12-step clubhouse or at your local food bank or community center. In today’s society, an extra pair of hands volunteering to help are always welcome, so you should have no problem finding service work in your area. You will be amazed at how quickly you being to feel good about yourself, achieving a health level of self esteem independent of the opinion of others in your life.
In our active addiction we inadvertently destroyed our view of ourselves, sacrificing our morals and ethics for the sake fo our continued substance abuse. It is important for our success in recovery that we rebuild a healthy picture of ourselves, learning to receive validation and self-esteem from within rather than without. You are capable of achieving this goal, so long as you remain willing to put in the work required to make peace with your past and transform yourself into a positive contributing member of your community today. So long as you strive to complete these tasks, you will succeed in your endeavor to build self esteem and will be better prepared to achieve lasting sobriety!