Building Self-Esteem in Recovery

Building Self-Esteem in Recovery

There isn’t anyone out there who has had issues with their self-worth or image at one point in life. However, for those of us struggling with addiction, self-esteem can also be an ongoing battle.

The issue of self-esteem is almost universal when it comes to being a human being, especially as humans that are constantly bombarded by unrealistic ideals and images in the media. Many people struggle with self-esteem, even when they don’t have an addiction problem.

Addiction can wear down your sense of self and affect how you feel when you look in the mirror. Most people, when first getting clean, say they don’t like themselves or feel right about who they had become when they were using.


Feeling Good About Yourself Again

If you’re in recovery, you’re ready to change and grow in a way that is healing. The person you are becoming is a positive force in the world and deserves to feel good about themselves. Early recovery is a great time to reclaim your spirit and indeed become the person you want to be. Building your self-esteem is part of that process.

Here are a few suggestions for you on how to reclaim your self-esteem and self-worth:

  1. Write a list of good things about yourself. Keep the list simple – choose only about five items. Read it back to yourself when you’re feeling negative.
  2. Do good things – every day! That means something as simple as complimenting another person, holding a door, or reaching out to somebody you care about. Every day, keep a short journal entry about what you did.
  3. Practice self-care. Take a long bath on a stressful day. Get exercise. Let your body and mind heal through meditation or acupuncture. When you feel good, you feel better about yourself as a whole.
  4. Change your self-talk. Many people think negatively about themselves. “I’m so stupid” is a common thing you might think when you make a mistake at work. “I’m no good!” is another phrase. These are thoughts and feelings you need to learn to replace. Instead of “I’m so stupid!”, When you find yourself talking negatively, interrupt yourself. Change the narrative. Instead of calling yourself stupid, try saying “I made a mistake, which is human.” Interrrupt your negative self-talk by keeping a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it when you get into a bad mood. Once you’ve done this, start the positive self-talk again.


These are just a few ways to help rebuild your self-esteem in recovery. As you reach new milestones, such as racking up months sober, you’ll find your self-esteem builds naturally. When you do good things, you feel good. Staying sober can be a challenge, but you’ll see that you soon like who you are and where you are headed. You’ve started a great journey in life! And that’s something to feel good about.

Getting Help

Are you, or somebody you love, interested in getting clean and sober? Come to at a clean, safe, supportive environment as you detox and make new choices about your future. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have at 1-888-959-3277.