Self-esteem issues and substance-use disorders are tightly linked — so tightly that it’s often difficult to distinguish the chicken from the egg. Previous mental health conditions often compel vulnerable populations to drift off course and find themselves venturing down a bumpy, downhill slope.


While you may not recognize the face staring back at you in your reflection, healing and hope are out there. It is possible to bolster your self-esteem and restore your sense of self-worth on the road to recovery. To do so, promote self-love to the top of your recovery to-do list.

The first step to recovering your self-esteem is identifying the core wounds that lie at the root of substance-use disorders. Understanding these core wounds leads to an awareness that present actions originate from pain stemming from past wounds and traumas. It may feel daunting to attempt to heal those core wounds on your own, which is why it is essential to enlist support. One of these supporting forces can be participating in a recovery-oriented program.

Recovery-oriented programs heal the core wound responsible for these substance-abuse impulses. In these programs, patients are assigned a recovery coach, who acts as a mentor and provides unconditional support on the path to substance-use recovery. Their function is not to become an indispensable crutch to those undergoing the recovery process or to give instruction, but to provide encouragement as the recovering person heals.

Soon enough, survivors will regain their wings, flee their recovery coach’s nest, and assume responsibility for their own choices. These programs also seek to support families of those in recovery as the recovering person embarks on their healing journey.

Practice self-care

Treating yourself with respect is the first step to restoring yourself after stress or emotional pain. Self-care seems easy to do, but most people find it challenging, including the recovering ones. Depending on your self-care condition, the methods may be different. There are many methods for maintaining a healthy mindset and building self-esteem on your way to recovery. One of these ways is practicing self-care. There are many benefits to incorporating self-care into your daily routine and many ways to do it.

One way to practice self-care is to take care of your body by eating healthy meals and establishing a simple workout routine. Practicing self-care can also be as simple as saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, sleeping when you feel tired, or spending two minutes observing your breathing. So long as you are mindful and intentional with your practice, self-care can make a substantial positive impact on your mental health.

Be aware of negative thoughts

Another way to practice self-love is to pay attention to your thought processes and intentionally push back against negative self-talk. Creating, writing down, and repeating affirmations can help build a more positive view of yourself and keep negative beliefs at bay.

While this is a method that can take time to become effective, it’s a worthwhile practice that helps significantly to bolster your self-esteem. By reminding yourself regularly of positive beliefs, it becomes easier to challenge self-sabotaging thoughts.

Grant yourself forgiveness

Forgiving yourself for your past mistakes and actions allows you to move forward in recovery and focus your energies on nurturing a better future. Self-forgiveness is not about letting yourself off the hook for your wrongdoings. Instead, it’s about taking responsibility for your actions, acknowledging the mistake, and being willing to move past something that cannot be changed.

Rather than wasting life’s precious minutes critiquing the choices you made on your trip to Rock Bottom, start by forgiving yourself so that you can commit to making healthier and more self-loving decisions in your brighter future.

Final thoughts

While the path may not always be speed-bump-free, there are many resources and programs to provide support. Even in the darkest of days, you’re never alone in your journey.

It’s essential to understand and remember that restoring self-love during the recovery process is possible, and addiction can’t prevent you from building back up your self-esteem.