What Role Does Self-Confidence Play in Addiction Recovery?

It is common for many individuals suffering from addiction to also suffer from low self-esteem. Often many addicts use drugs and alcohol to cover up the negative ways they feel about themselves. Many feel like they are hopeless, worthless, and not deserving of a better life. This vicious cycle of negative thoughts and emotions often causes them to stay addicted. However, finding self-confidence in recovery can play a major role in one’s ability and motivation to recover.

Addiction and Low Self-Esteem

Many addicts do not have the capability to cope with their emotions, specifically negative ones, properly. Drugs and alcohol are used to cope with these feelings temporarily, but unfortunately, addiction only leads to depression, misery, and even lower self-esteem.

Addicts begin using drugs and alcohol to cope with negative emotions and gain a boost of confidence. However, when they begin relying on drugs and alcohol for confidence and coping mechanisms, they become wrapped up in addiction. This often lowers their self-esteem even more and keeps them trapped in the cycle of addiction.

Effects of Low Self-Esteem

According to the University of Texas’ Mental Health and Counseling center, “low self-esteem can lead to a lack of development and/or tendency towards drug or alcohol consumption.” Low self-esteem often causes individuals to go along with what others want to do, especially if what they are doing can help take away the negative feelings the individual is experiencing. This is often how they get wrapped up in drugs and alcohol.

Low self-esteem can lead to someone not taking proper care of themselves. Because they believe they are worthless and not worthy of love, they neglect their own needs. This results in poor physical and mental health, which in turn, can lead to an early death.

Lack of trust is also common in individuals with low self-esteem. They are unable to trust others because they believe everyone is out to get them. This can cause a rift in relationships and cause the person to self-isolate.

How To Build Self-Confidence in Addiction Recovery

Change in Perspective

Your thoughts play the most prominent role in your self-confidence. If you are constantly feeding your negative thoughts, how can you ever expect to be content? It’s hard to feel good when someone is bullying you all the time. Changing your thoughts and perspective by thinking and saying positive affirmations about yourself can help you develop a better outlook on yourself and your life. Meditating on positive affirmations can be a great way to boost self-confidence.

Make Good Choices

What you do matters. How you take care of yourself, how you treat others, and who you decide to be are extremely important. Doing good things to move you forward in life, such as studying, getting a job, taking care of hygiene, eating healthy, exercising, and more, can boost your mood and self-confidence. You are the one that has to look in the mirror, and it is important to like the person that stares back.

Practice Self-Care

Your physical health, emotional health, and mental health are all connected, looking after one impacts the others. Self-care is an excellent way of meeting all of your health needs and making yourself feel good. Consider taking a hot bath, engaging in a sober activity you enjoy, meditating, or reflecting in a journal about the good things sobriety has brought you. Taking care of yourself can change your overall mood and grow your self-confidence.


Exercising not only helps addiction by releasing feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, but it can also boost your self-confidence. As you exercise, you’ll feel proud of the things your body is capable of. Over time, you’ll even begin to see changes in your body. This will boost your confidence as you show yourself you are able to work hard and take care of your body. Liking the way you look can play a big part in self-confidence, too.

Practice Self-Awareness

Listen to what your body and intuition tell you. Triggers can cause you to relapse quickly, so it is important to have a good relationship with yourself in order to understand what you can and can’t handle. Once you have identified your triggers, do your best to avoid them. Being around negative triggers can bring down your self-confidence quite a bit, so avoiding them can keep this from happening. Take care of yourself by avoiding negative situations and reminding yourself that you can listen to your own needs in recovery.

Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is one of the hardest virtues to learn as a human being. When you mess up, it can be so easy to tear yourself down and compare yourself to others that seem to be perfect. However, it is important to remember that everybody makes mistakes. The important thing is how you get back up and learn from the mistake. Forgiving yourself is the first thing that needs to be done after you begin recovering from addiction. From there, you can begin encouraging yourself in your recovery as you accept that there will be times you stumble and fall, but you will always get back up and come back stronger.

Self-confidence plays a major role in addiction recovery. Having low self-confidence is a common relapse trigger and often one of the contributing factors to an addiction developing in the first place. Understanding the impact of low self-esteem and then learning how to build up self-confidence is a blessing and a skill. High self-confidence can encourage you to take care of yourself and maintain your sobriety because you know you deserve a long, happy, and fulfilling life. Engaging in activities to boost your self-confidence is vital. At Northstar Transitions, we are here to help you find your confidence in addiction recovery. We can help you do this through our various treatment modalities and the connections you make with your peers and our staff. You can shine after addiction by boosting your self-confidence in recovery. We are here to support you every step of the way. For information about our programs and how you can conquer addiction, call us at (303) 558-6400.

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