Finding Self-Acceptance During Recovery from Addiction
Struggling through addiction recovery can be a difficult time for almost anyone. Over 10% of the American public struggle with addiction of some kind, and yet, it’s still so easy to feel lost or alone.
Guilt and shame are common emotions that one might feel during the recovery process. It’s easy to let past mistakes haunt you and even prevent you from fully moving forward.
But, this isn’t a healthy way to heal. Recovery from addiction can also be an amazing time to grow and forgive. There are many ways to develop and practice self-acceptance during the recovery process. We’ll walk you through a few below.
It’s easier to work towards a goal if you properly understand it. That’s definitely true in the case of self-acceptance.
Acceptance can be defined as the opening of your heart to past behavior and the realities of life. It means letting go of the past and letting go of false expectations. If you are able to see and accept the world for how it really is, you’ll have made a huge step in your recovery.
We all have a tendency to agonize over past mistakes. Things you’ve done under the influence of alcohol could still haunt you. But by accepting them and yourself, you can begin to leave these harmful memories in the past where they belong.
Not only does self-acceptance help set to peace some of the hurt or anger of past mistakes, but it can help you see them in a new light. It can provide a great opportunity to learn and grow from the past in a healthy way.
No matter your background or situation, you can find such acceptance in your own life. We are all capable, no matter the details of our stories.
If you’re having trouble coming to terms with the actions of your past, there are a few exercises that might be able to help.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
The way we talk to ourselves impacts our self-image and our overall mood. It sounds silly, but the way we communicate with ourselves is very important. If you continue to tell yourself you’re a terrible or stupid person, you’re likely to feel that way.
Even if you feel silly at first, attempt to work more positive affirmations into your day-to-day life. Talk to and treat yourself kindly. Remind yourself that you’re not a bad person, you’re just a person who has acted badly.
You’ll be surprised to see how much positive self-talk such as this can really help. It can improve your mood and mental health. If you’re struggling with reaching true self-acceptance, it’s a great exercise to try out.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of meditation. But maybe you’ve never tried the practice yourself. Meditation doesn’t require much besides a little bit of time set aside each day.
Simply take the time to sit still and empty your mind. We get so wrapped up in our busy schedules amidst recovery that it’s hard to remember to keep still.
This stillness can actually help make yourself more ‘present’ in your day-to-day life. It can help induce feelings of relaxation and peacefulness. This state of mind creates an environment much more conducive to self-acceptance.
Embrace What You Do Love About Yourself
You might not love everything about yourself. There are very few people who can say that they do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t focus your attention on the things that you DO love.
We spend far too much time and energy focusing on the negative instead of the positive. Much of the negative involves things that we cannot change. Much of the positive involves things that we could enjoy and be nourished by if we allowed it.
What activities fill you with joy? What do you feel like you’re good at? Spend more time doing these things. The positive associations are likely to make you feel more positive overall.
If you feed the parts of yourself you love while offering forgiveness to those areas that you don’t, you’ll be truly practicing self-acceptance.
Stay Open With Others
Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. It can take seeing ourselves through another’s eyes to see things how they really are.
That’s why it can be so essential to keep ourselves in company with friends and loved ones. Our closest companions likely see us in ways that we don’t. They’re more willing to forgive flaws and love us for our full nature.
Staying open and communicative with your community can greatly aid your self-acceptance process during recovery. Having a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to can give you the support you need to move forward.
Sometimes it’s only by receiving the love of another can we begin to find that love in us ourselves. This love can be through big gestures or small ones. Remember to stay receptive to all kinds of communication.
Self-Acceptance During Recovery From Addiction
Recovery from addiction can be one of the most difficult times imaginable to feel good about yourself. It’s completely understandable that you would feel guilty for actions or behaviors you’ve exhibited in the past.
But practicing self-acceptance can help you move forward and find true happiness in your recovery process. It’s highly recommended to attempt.
Need more help working through the substance abuse recovery program? Feel free to contact us with any questions.