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Understanding the Connection Between Self-Image and Addiction

Understanding the Connection Between Self-Image and Addiction

The connection between self-image and addiction recovery is well established. Here is why building a stronger sense of self is so important for the addiction recovery process.

Over the past few decades, multiple bodies of research have concluded that there is a strong connection between self-image and addiction. The most difficult times in our lives are also the ones that are most likely to challenge how we feel about ourselves and how we perceive our own self-worth. Addiction and recovery is a challenging road that can cause all-time highs and lows in self-image.

During the recovery process, it’s important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Nurturing your self-image is an important part of this process.

How Addiction Affects Self-Esteem

Understanding how addiction affects self-esteem is complex. There are a myriad of factors that contribute to the self-image that we build for ourselves and it can be difficult to determine which, if any of them, contributed to addictive behaviors.

The question that many people with an addiction problem have to ask themselves is whether their low self-image contributed to their addiction or if their addiction caused their self-esteem to nosedive. Addiction and low self-esteem have an unhealthy, codependent relationship.

As you go through the recovery process, you can expect to confront your feelings about self-image. Doing this is rarely an easy process, even for someone who isn’t recovering from an addiction problem. While redefining your self-image is challenging, it’s an incredibly important part of the recovery process.

Tips for Building Self-Esteem in Addiction Recovery

The journey of building self-esteem in addiction recovery isn’t one that can be traveled in a short amount of time. There are years, possibly a lifetime, of habits and thought patterns built into how you view yourself and your place in the world. It’s important for your recovery to be patient with yourself during this process. Here are a few tips for helping you rebuild your self-image and boost your confidence during the recovery process.

Become aware of negative thoughts. When you’re living with an addiction problem, your mind is often a whirlwind of unfocused thoughts. At some point in the recovery process, you’ll notice that things “quiet down.” Use this time to practice mindfulness or meditation to help you become more aware of when intrusive, negative thoughts try to interfere with your progress.

Make self care a priority.  It’s hard to have a healthy self-image when you don’t make yourself a priority. Even the most basic elements of self-care are important. Take the time to eat healthy, get some exercise and find new hobbies that you enjoy.

Use positive affirmations daily. Positive affirmations are nothing more than statements that reflect the way you want to feel about yourself. On the days when you’re struggling with self-image, repeating to yourself that you are strong, proud and deserving of sobriety can help lift you up. Make a list of affirmations and repeat at least three of them to yourself daily.

Accept praise. A strong personal support team is an incredible asset to have during addiction recovery. These people have seen you at your lowest and they’ve watched you rise. When they tell you that they’re proud of you or compliment you in some other way, accept it. The same holds true when people that you haven’t seen in a while tell you how great you look. Trust that they mean what they say.

Forgive yourself. Someone who has lived with an addiction often goes through a great deal of self-blame. They feel responsible for hurting themselves and the people they care about most. Carrying this burden around is counterproductive to the healing process. We are all flawed human beings, learn to forgive yourself and let go of the blame.

Working With an Addiction Treatment Center in Fort Washington

If you or someone you know has an addiction problem, the first important step is to find an experienced, compassionate addiction treatment center in Fort Washington. The most successful programs consider the role of self-image in addiction recovery and focus strongly on rebuilding it. Connecting with a treatment center that provides a holistic approach to recovery can help ensure a lifetime of sobriety success.


Media Contact:

Life of Purpose Treatment – Fort Washington

Phone: 732-421-5955



***Clinical Statement**

The terminology used in our articles does not always reflect the current clinical terminology. As the language changes within the community, Life of Purpose encourages the shift in terminology to help end the social stigma surrounding the addiction community. Our articles are written for online public consumption and are meant to be easily accessible to people searching for help. To be successful in our efforts to help as many people possible, we may use phrases or terms that are not reflective of our clinical perspective but are used by the general public.

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