Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues believe on a fundamental level that we are inadequate, that we are unworthy, that we are undeserving of happiness. We believe we are unlovable because deep down we don’t love ourselves. These beliefs are often what drive us to try to escape our pain with addictive substances and behavioral patterns. When we can heal these beliefs, we can empower ourselves and give ourselves a foundation of self-love that can make all the difference in our recovery.
If we focus our recovery on abstaining from our drugs and behaviors of choice without also working on our feelings of self-hate, we might always be susceptible to our self-destructive patterns because we haven’t healed the deep-rooted pain within ourselves. When it comes to our addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, we develop beliefs about ourselves that are often referred to as limiting beliefs. We limit ourselves greatly by holding onto these beliefs. We believe we are incapable of healing. We believe we don’t deserve goodness in life. We believe we are fundamentally so unworthy that we can’t have hope for a happy life. If we quit our substances and behaviors but still believe these things about ourselves, we are likely to relapse and start back up again. We might have learned temporarily to abstain, but are we truly happy? Do we really love ourselves?
Self-love may sound like an elusive, idealistic concept, but we can put it into practice in our daily lives by consciously changing our thought patterns. Let’s start by being aware throughout the day of all the times we think negative thoughts about ourselves, every time we feed our insecurities by agreeing with them, all the ways in which we bring ourselves down with our thinking. The self-hating limiting beliefs we’ve adopted drive our thinking, usually without our being conscious of them. Being able to observe the thought patterns that our minds default to is the first step in changing them.
What does your harsh, critical inner voice say? Let’s flip those words around in order to create empowering statements to reprogram our subconscious minds. “I love myself unconditionally. I accept myself and all of who I am. I respect myself. I believe in myself. I have faith in myself. I deserve to be happy. I am strong enough to heal.” The more we grow to love ourselves, the more we build up the inner strength we need in order to recover.
The community at Riverside has personal experience with recovery. Let us help you. Call (800) 871-5440.