Working on Self-Esteem in Recovery


Recovery Reflections: July 12, 2017

Hello everyone! My name is Bianka, and I would like to give you another warm welcome to Detox to Rehab’s Recovery Reflections. Please join us and listen to the experience, strength and hope shared by Megan, Josh and Madison.

We will pre-record readings from the book “Walk in Dry Places.” We express how this reading has helped our recovery or how it has impacted us. We thank you and hope we can inspire your recovery journey!

Walk in Dry Places

July 12, 2017: Pats on the back – Self-Esteem

Recovery from a compulsive illness such as alcoholism often brings “pats on the back.” This praise is a welcome change from the criticism our problems once raised.

We should accept such pats on the back graciously, but without taking the personal credit this sort of praise implies. We can become addicted to praise seeking, and we may even invite it as a way of building up self-esteem.

Moreover, much of our challenge is still ahead of us. The real victory may be in learning how to live after we’ve established our initial freedom. We learn that all human beings must face issues such as boredom and pain, which we tried to avoid with our drinking. We may get few pats on the back for our success in this everyday living, but our healthier lifestyle is reward enough.

If I receive praise today, I’ll acknowledge it graciously, knowing that such praise is not necessary for my well-being.

Recovery and Self-Esteem

Long before I walked into the rooms of recovery, I had little to no self-esteem. I felt there was always something wrong with me, like I wasn’t good enough and people would talk to me out of pity. I never could see the good people saw in me. When I tried using drugs, I felt as if I finally fit in with the crowd and I gained a false sense of self-esteem.

I had to be completely loaded in order to feel okay with myself. As soon as the drugs wore off, the feelings of low self-esteem came back tenfold. It got to the point where after a few months of continuous abuse, the drugs weren’t even working and I felt one-hundred times worse than I ever have about myself. I felt like I was nothing but a homeless, loser junkie who didn’t deserve to live. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and it took me a few years to realize that I can feel better about myself- I just have to be willing to change.

“The only way to get self-esteem is to do estimable things which I never really want to do,” Madison said.

When I was willing to do what it took to stay sober and in recovery my life changed, for the better forever. I slowly started to learn to love myself but it took a lot of work. I had to work the steps thoroughly and honestly to begin to feel an ounce of life for myself. As I grew in recovery, day by day, the self-esteem went up and I am a much happier person because of it.

“It’s about validating yourself and um, you know, just learning to live a life of integrity, which takes time and is not easy,” Josh said.

Yes, it was working the steps that helped my self-esteem go up but I also had to do some side work. I had to compliment myself and remind myself that even if I feel like I am doing nothing, I am staying sober and that is what matters. I ended up realizing that I didn’t need other people’s approval or acceptance to be okay with who I am.

“I still, to this day, have trouble accepting praise or a compliment,” Megan said.

This doesn’t mean that you should blow off what others say to you completely. If someone is to compliment you, accept it and believe it to be true, just don’t allow this compliment to control your life. You need to be okay with yourself, without compliments or appraisal in order to recovery properly and move on in your life. You need to rely on yourself, you need self-approval, not approval from other people.

“This is working,” Megan said.

By accepting myself, living honestly and working the 12-steps I have come to the point where I do love myself. Not every day is easy but it is better than where I was a few years ago in my addiction. What I am doing in my life is working for me and has helped many other people. If it weren’t for the 12-steps and learning to love myself, I wouldn’t have the life or recovery I do today.

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