The cycle of substance use disorder (SUD) is extremely rocky and complicated. As recovery is a lifelong journey, individuals in recovery may occasionally experience feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings can take a toll on an individual’s confidence and sense of self, which inevitably can contribute to relapse. This is why self-love is an essential factor for effective treatment and long-lasting sobriety. By using simple tools and practices for self-care, individuals in recovery can regain the confidence they need to ensure recovery success that lasts a lifetime.
The Importance of Self-Love & Compassion in Treatment and Recovery
Most people’s thoughts and feelings about themselves are partly based on their life experiences. When a person is struggling with a SUD, like addiction, their daily activities begin to revolve around their cravings, compulsions, and ultimately their substance use. It is no wonder why an individual’s perception of themself can become negative over time.
Features of high-self esteem include the belief in one’s importance and why, the ability to ask for help, and trusting oneself. When a person is going through addiction treatment, these features of high self-esteem are key. They will give individuals the motivation that they need to continue moving forward in their treatment journey.
Self-compassion has been shown as a protective factor for mental health and well-being. It is positively associated with improved emotion regulation abilities, and it is even related to reduced drug and alcohol use. Many people suffering from SUD experience distressing thoughts about themselves. When they can practice self-compassion and incorporate it into their addiction treatment, they will see much greater success.
The Value of Self-Honesty
It is easy to say that self-love and compassion will positively impact a person’s addiction treatment. Still, an individual might wonder how they can begin to re-gain these attributes after they have been in the cycle of addiction for so long. Practicing self-honesty is the first step in developing a more positive attitude and outlook on the treatment and recovery journey.
A good practice for overcoming negative thoughts is by journaling them out. When these thoughts and emotions are pulled out of the mind and put onto paper, much tension can be released from the subconscious mind. This might sound counter-intuitive to practicing self-love, but this is a great first step to re-gain confidence and a strong sense of self. It is important for individuals to remember that they are worth more than their thoughts.
Self-love is crucial to a person’s healing process during addiction recovery. A person can strengthen their “self-love muscles” a little bit more each day by consistently incorporating simple practices into their daily routine.
Mindful practices are an amazing tool that everyone can use throughout treatment, recovery, and beyond. Mindfulness simply means to live in the present moment. The idea behind mindfulness is that it trains the mind to focus instead of wander. When it wanders, a person is more likely to get stuck on negative thoughts and feelings.
Individuals can start to incorporate mindfulness into their days by focusing fully on the present moment or the task at hand, like walking, breathing, eating, etc. Mindfulness is supposed to be simple, so try not to overthink it. Remember that like anything else, practice makes perfect. Individuals can use this simple guide to help them achieve mindfulness in just five minutes a day.
One might think positive affirmations are a whacky, new-aged, spiritual tool. On the contrary, affirmations are utilized far beyond the new age movement, as famous celebrities, business owners, athletes, and even politicians use this tool to enhance their lives.
Individuals can start to incorporate positive affirmations into their daily routine by writing down three “I am” statements that they desire for their life. A few examples can be simple statements like:
- I am healthy.
- I am happy.
- I am peaceful.
The idea behind positive affirmations is that by reading and reciting them, a person will begin to train their mind to believe these things are true. Repetition is key here, so try to utilize positive affirmations as often as possible. A great way to strengthen affirmations is by reciting them in front of a mirror.
Focusing on self-care strengthens the relationship that a person has with themself. Everyone must identify their own methods of self-care, as everyone will respond differently to the same practice. Some self-care ideas might include:
- Focusing on an enjoyable hobby
- Cooking enjoyable food
- Taking a nice bath
- Meditation and self-reflection
- Reading and/or writing
A combination of self-love and self-care will empower an individual’s treatment and recovery journey. Although it might take time and practice, it is important to recognize the value that these practices can have on one’s lifelong healing journey. Take it one day at a time and do not give up.
For those struggling with substance use or SUD, feelings of guilt, shame, and overall negativity can be far too common. When a person enters addiction treatment, learning how to regain confidence and develop a deep sense of self-love is absolutely crucial to one’s recovery success. Self-compassion has been shown to have a positive impact on overall mental health and well-being, and a high sense of self-love and compassion has even been linked to reduced drug and alcohol use. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, our outpatient programs utilize various therapy techniques, combined with holistic methods, to help patients strengthen their sense of self and confidence as they move through their addiction recovery journey. Our Extended Care Program focuses on an individualized, custom-built life skills curriculum to set our patients up for lasting success and happiness in treatment and beyond. Call us today at (214) 717-5884.