One of the most significant moments in our addiction journey is when we are able to come to terms with our addictions for the first time. Accepting that we are addicts and all that that means for our lives can bring up a whole range of emotions. We often are in such denial about our patterns, our relationships and behaviors, that we don’t realize we are experiencing the classic cycles of addiction. When it hits us, we might first feel more denial. We might feel relief to finally have a way to explain all the pain and difficulties we’ve been experiencing. We might feel increasingly sad. We might feel terrified about what this new label means for us.
Will people judge me and look down on me? Will the people in my life still love me? Will I be accepted, or rejected and shunned? Will I be able to recover? Can I ever be happy? All the questions we have can spin around in our minds and cause us to feel overwhelmed, scared and panicked.
In order to heal, we can work to strengthen three areas of our emotional intelligence that can help us to accept ourselves and the addictions that are part of who we are: self-love, self-compassion and self-forgiveness.
Self-love is hard for many of us who have adopted self-hating beliefs and who have been perpetuating them for most of our lives. When we believe we are inherently unworthy of love, it takes time and practice to start to believe a new truth, that we are deserving of our own self-love. Become mindful of the ways in which you speak to yourself and work to incorporate more self-love into your self-talk throughout the day. Stop speaking to yourself in hateful, disparaging terms. “I love myself. I deserve self-love. I am worthy of love.”
Self-compassion involves having empathy and understanding for yourself and for your own pain. Can you see yourself as the inner child within you who is hurting and afraid? Your inner self needs you to understand that your addictions are a manifestation of your pain. They are not evidence of your unworthiness or inadequacy. They are a cry for help. “I see you. I understand you. I am here for you.”
Self-forgiveness asks that you have patience with yourself as you learn and grow and inevitably make mistakes in life. It asks that you stop judging yourself and beating yourself up. Your mistakes, your regrets, your addictions are all a part of your journey. Can you step outside of yourself who is inundating yourself with shame and choose self-forgiveness and peace instead? “I forgive myself. I am at peace within myself.”
We have firsthand experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you along your healing journey. Call (800) 871-5440.