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Self-Love: The Foundation of Recovery

As we’re exploring more of ourselves in sobriety, we’ll uncover many more aspects of ourselves that we didn’t know before. One of the most challenging aspects of healing is learning of what we said or did while drunk or high; oftentimes, this coincides with feelings of shame, resentment, and more. Nobody likes to hear that they’ve hurt the ones they love, but when we’re in the throes of addiction, it’s bound to happen. Self-love is an incredibly important part of recovery because that’s when we become stronger in who we really are.

There are several different aspects of self-love, and we may already exhibit a few of these or we may not:

  1. Staying true to ourselves even when it’s not made others happy
  2. Expressing how we really feel and being honest
  3. Eating and exercising as appropriate
  4. Dressing in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves
  5. Building a life we love
  6. Accepting all parts of ourselves
  7. Making time to do things that bring us joy
  8. Choosing not to mull over past mistakes
  9. Trusting that everything will be okay
  10. Learning to set boundaries

It’s so much easier for us to fall back into those negative coping mechanisms – to point fingers at those around us, to wallow in self-pity over what we can’t have, and more. When it all boils down to it, however, how far do we get? How far should we let ourselves go down this rabbit hole of self-defeat? 

Even the most experienced of life coaches and mental health professionals admit that self-love is often what brings us out of the depths of negativity and despair.

Unfortunately, the path towards self-love is often missed as we find ourselves turning down roads filled with self-hatred, depression, anger, and resentment. It’s possible that even if we’re surrounded by others, we may feel completed neglected; it’s oftentimes this dark place of self-hatred that lingers on and gives us a feeling that we’re not good enough, that we’re not lovable, and that we don’t deserve good things.

It’s part of our biological instincts – to focus more on the negative than the good, as a way of self-preservation. The problem with this is that in modern life, we’ve adapted to focus more on the negatives as a whole – no longer just for the needs of survival. When we give more weight to our flaws and shortcomings, we’re holding ourselves back from receiving the love, joy, and fulfillment that we truly deserve. Yes, addiction can seem to take away parts of us over time – but that doesn’t mean that we have to continue letting those past behaviors take over us even well into treatment.

Self-criticism is often one of the most life-sucking aspects of life if we let it occur; when we neglect self-love, we’re more likely to:

  • Begin thinking in ways that make us more prone to relapse
  • Become more withdrawn in social situations
  • Avoid attending recovery-related activities
  • Have more self-doubt in our abilities to succeed in recovery
  • Give in to temptations easier, especially if we feel we’re deserving to fail
  • Experience more aggression and tension in daily life
  • And more

Neglect can tear us apart from our own sense of wellbeing, and this can further damage our progress in recovery along with our progress in forming meaningful, supportive networks to move forward in our lives.

If you’re ready to apply more self-love to your recovery, you must note that you’ll not always feel like practicing self-love  – but you must do it anyway. Positive affirmations are a great way of working through all of the negativity that can squander self-esteem. There are several things you can say to yourself to help with this, such as the fact that you’re doing the best that you can, that you have people who believe in you and who support you, and that you’re an incredibly strong person in recovery right now.

Work with your family, your therapist and/or your sponsor to help remind you to replace those negative thoughts with more positive, productive ones. Over time, self-love will become more natural – and you’ll find that your mind, body, and spirit thrive off of it as well. 

The Bougainvilla House has created a safe and welcoming environment for adolescents and their families which focuses on helping you overcome your feelings and connect you back to the beauty of the world. With a variety of outpatient treatment options and individualized programs, we are confident we can get you feeling healthy and happy. Call now to find a support that works for you and your family: (954) 764-7337

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