Self esteem building for addicts: How can I recover a healthy sense of self?

Which came first: lousy self esteem or addiction? Learn how to build a healthy sense of self after you stop drinking or drugging here.

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How Do I Recover Healthy Self-Esteem?

As a senior manager in the work place, self-esteem is often an issue with employees as they advance in their careers; particularly those new to management roles.

As a coach, this self-esteem is an issue I deal with with every client. I have never had an exception. It makes a guy wonder what happened along the trail, and also wonder what happened first, lousy self-esteem or addiction?

My personal esteem

The place I always start to look is at my own personal circumstance. Being a recovering addict and also a senior manager, I have had to gain some insight along the way.

I was brought up in what most would have thought to be a very comfortable home. I was healthy, reasonably bright and didn’t want for too much materially. Yet, for a reason I now understand, I never felt that I was good enough nor did I feel that I measured up to the expectation of “others”. If a reasonably sound upbringing left me like this, I can easily understand how those with a less fortunate childhood can have self-esteem issues.

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7 tips for self-esteem building

Some basic how to “overcome” actions for me (and for many of my clients) included:

1. Use positive affirmations.

I went to, and I send clients to, the few people in life a person can really trust. Positive “I am……….” statements are obtained from these honest sources, such as “Keith is a truly caring person”. Four or five are lots. Put them on a recipe card and tape the card to your favorite mirror. Initially you won’t believe; do the work and you’ll know them to be true.

2. Spend quiet time everyday.

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If you can learn how to shut your mind down, divorced of brain chatter, interesting things (positive) will be revealed to you.

3. Journal daily .

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Get those good thoughts and negatives externalized. You’ll be shocked how they look on paper. Set some goals, dare to dream some good dreams.

4. Get outside help .

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Everybody needs a mentor. You need a “trusted confidant” in your life, one who you respect and admire, who has walked the road and come out in sunshine; it may not necessarily be some one you like or know well..

5. Right size yourself.

Learn that you are not the center of the universe and in the big picture, not all that important. Find that proverbial power greater than you that you can build a trusting relationship with.

6. Give yourself credit.

Make sure you give yourself credit for all your successes, no matter how big or small. It is far too easy to focus on failures.

7. Set some small achievable goals.

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Baby steps will carry you on a journey and the journey never starts without a first step. When you hit a goal, give yourself a small reward, maybe a small pat on the back.

Think about it. You were born with a purpose, and that purpose was positive. It still is. Each of us in our own small way have something to offer. If you learn to believe in you, achieve healthy self-respect, your world will be a much brighter place to live in and so will be the world of every person you have contact with!

About the author
I am a Master Life Coach who is ICF certified and a certified addictions coach. I consider myself recovered from the effects of addiction (16 years) but still in recovery mode as it relates to personal growth. Professionally, I am university educated, a former corporate CEO and have been in the consulting business for over two decades. I'm a husband, father, grandfather, friend, uncle son, a trusted confidant and many other things but bottom line, I'm Keith. I hope that I can help SOME out there with ideas that will make you think deeply.


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  1. Low self esteem is at the root of most personal crisis because it always comes down to one thing – not feeling good enough. Not feeling good enough can lead to drugs, alcohol, resentment, frustration and self hatred. Thank you for being open about your personal life it helps people to feel connected to you.

  2. Thank you for this insightful and honest post. All too often, the emotional health of the patient can be overlooked in favor of more easily quantifiable and measurable attributes. In reality, however, the psychic health of the individual is the key factor in determining an outcome; poor self-esteem can quickly lead to relapse, which in turn magnifies those negative emotions, so it is important to build upon any initial success to increase self-confidence and thus initiate a virtuous circle of recovery. No recovery can be properly so called unless it is a spiritual recovery.

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