Recovery is a time of major reflection and growth for a recovering addict. When a person is using drugs and alcohol, they often face problems like low self-esteem and low self worth.
There are a number of reasons for this. A person who suffers from low self-esteem is far more likely to suffer from addiction.
Addiction can also amplify problems of low self worth for a number of reasons. When a person is dependent on drugs or alcohol, they may feel that they do not have control over their lives.
In many ways, this is true. When a person is addicted to a substance, their brain becomes so hard wired to crave, seek, and use the substance that they are addicted to that an addicted may be rendered effectively powerless against the desire to use.
Many times, individuals who suffer from addiction may make an attempt to cease using, only to find that they use despite their wishes. This can lead to feelings of depression and a diminished sense of self-esteem.
Recovery Requires Self Love
Because so much of addiction revolves around feelings of low self worth, real and lasting recovery requires an addict to change the way that they feel about themselves and, in fact, the way that they think completely. In recovery, an addict works with their therapist to determine the true reasons for their drug or alcohol addiction.
For most addicts, this means investigating a number of things, from trauma that may have occurred long ago to more recent events that have contributed to one's tendency to use. In recovery, it becomes evident to many addicts that while they were using they were not respecting themselves and therefore were not acting lovingly towards themselves.
Loving One's Self First
One problem that many addicts face is guilt or shame around the way that they have treated important people in their lives. Because addiction is an all-encompassing disease, it is not uncommon for a person with substance abuse issues to behave in ways that are disrespectful, inconsiderate, and hurtful toward even the people who they love the most.
Often, this contributes to what is sometimes referred to as a shame cycle. Feelings of guilt and shame around undesirable behavior lead to stronger urges to use which, in turn, lead to more undesirable actions.
The reason that guilt and shame are not an effective means of changing behavior is that it is difficult, if not impossible to make healthy decisions when one is consumed with guilt. This is why it is so important to cultivate love for oneself. If the love of oneself does not exist, it is highly unlikely that a person will be able to act lovingly and responsibly toward the people in their lives.
Self Love Leads to Gratitude and Vice Versa
It is important for recovering addicts to find a way to behave lovingly toward themselves because this is such key factor in whether an addict will be able to cultivate happiness and gratitude for the people and things in their life. Gratitude is key in recovery because it reminds an addict why they want to be sober in the first place, and gives them a strong indicator of what they stand to gain when they successfully continue to remain drug and alcohol free.
When a recovering addict can begin to love themselves, they are able to see that they truly deserve all of the good things in their life. They are able to accept that love and help that is offered to them, and they are able to do the work required to remain sober.