Reading Time: 9 minutes
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 8/16/2021
Self-Esteem and Addiction directly impact each other. Understanding how the two work together and affect the other is essential to begin the healing process. Building your self-esteem is something you must do and it will help you also overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol.
We have built this ultimate guide to help you through your self-esteem and addiction issues. If you’d like to speak to someone regarding drug and alcohol treatment, call us at (888) 906-0952 today. Free consultation and no obligations!
Jump to the Answers You Need
- Self Esteem: Depending on Drugs & Alcohol to Help You Feel Different
- How Addiction Affects the Self-Esteem
- Substance Abuse, Self Esteem, and Fitting In
- The Effects of Low Self-Esteem on Daily Life
- Actionable Tips on Improve Low-Self Esteem
- How Substance Abuse Treatment Can Help Build Your Self Esteem Again
Self-Esteem & Peer Pressure: Depending on Drugs & Alcohol to Feel
Self-esteem is one of the biggest factors in determining how successful we are in any given endeavor. How you judge yourself can determine whether you go out for a team or try anything else where you have to put yourself out there.
Low self-esteem can cause people not to realize their full potential and lead to other serious issues such as depression and substance abuse.
Low self-esteem might manifest as believing there is something wrong with oneself. Maybe the person feels as though anything they say is stupid. Or, perhaps the person feels as though they look bad, no matter what they do.
Addiction, of course, adds another layer to the issue when thrown into the mix. The disease of addiction can cause the user to look at themselves differently. It can cause several issues, including having difficulty with self-esteem.
Those that have had records of addiction, theft, or prostitution have lower self-esteem than those that do not engage in those activities. Low self-esteem has a direct link to those that use drugs.
Many people struggle with self-image and self-worth. When your sense of self-worth is diminished, feeling uncomfortable, especially in social situations, is common.
Some degree of social anxiety is normal; however, when you cannot feel comfortable around others most of the time, you may have a problem with self-esteem.
Some turn to substances to fix their social anxiety. Drugs and alcohol have long been the synthetic fix to such problems. Alcohol, commonly referred to as “liquid courage,” and drugs with their various nicknames, all aim to do the same thing — ease people’s anxiety and pain and make them feel like they belong.
The problem with using substances in place of self-worth is that the more you rely on substances, the less personal strength you have to handle stressful situations. Mood and mind-altering substances are highly addictive, both physically and mentally.
The more you use, the more you need, and soon enough, a vicious cycle is born.
How Addiction Affects the Self-Esteem
Addiction is a brain disorder defined as a compulsive want for the drug, despite the adverse consequences. You desire the drug so much that it doesn’t matter what you have to do to get it. Addiction is a disease.
Some reports have shown that those with increased self-esteem are less likely to use drugs. People with intact and high-self esteem usually avoid drugs and narcotics.
At the same time, a lack of self-esteem correlates to an increase in participating in criminal activity and drug abuse.
So, mental health professionals can make recommendations to help others with their self-esteem. There are various ways for society to help strengthen it through self-belief, faith in God, mental health counseling, support groups.
It would help if you learned to resist every feeling of inferiority and self-humiliation.
Understanding the role of Self-esteem and Addiction
Self-esteem is the word that describes your ability to have confidence in your worth or abilities. It means respecting yourself. Having poor self-esteem plays a critical role in developing different mental disorders and social problems.
These problems can be depression, Anorexia, Nervosa, bulimia, anxiety, violence, substance abuse, and high-risk behaviors. Having these conditions can lead to a lot of personal suffering.
Having self-respect plays a crucial role in the chance that someone may abuse drugs. But, drug abuse treatment centers work to improve the causes of low self-esteem.
Substance Abuse, Self Esteem, and Fitting In.
The pressure to fit in with the cool group also contributes to developing a substance abuse disorder down the road. It seems that the pressure to fit in with peers while in school is just part of life and growing up to some degree.
However, when fitting in means self-destructive behaviors, the situation can veer away from the common experience to the beginning of one’s downfall.
When you are drinking and having fun, everyone wants to be around you. You’re the life of the party. Your identity and social position intrinsically connect to your using.
So, naturally, you feel like you have to drink or use to be accepted. You accept this role and continuously drink or use it as you think you should. Drinking and using at parties on the weekend might spread to earlier times in the day and week.
Eventually, you might realize that you only feel like “yourself” when you are using. You might spend your sober hours waiting for the moment where you can drink or use to escape the feelings that haunt you.
You begin to depend on the substances more and more for freedom from self and reality. Most likely, this progression doesn’t alarm you as much as it should.
As you realize your dependence on the substance, your self-worth goes away. It no longer means anything good that you are using. You don’t see yourself as cool but instead as parasitic.
The only way you ever experienced relief from such low self-worth was the substance you abused.
You delve more into the party scene — more drugs, more sex, more abuse. You do what you need to get the next fix. And nothing, no task seems beneath you since you are just a slave to the substance.
Addiction and low-self esteem can put you at risk for exploitation by others who claim to care about you. You may not realize that people are taking advantage of you.
The Effects of Low-Self Esteem on Daily Life
When someone has low self-esteem, they are easily prone to the influence of others in their surroundings. People will low self-esteem may have difficulty overcoming negative thoughts or feelings.
The negative thoughts and feelings cause them to turn to outside experiences and activities to change their thoughts.
Drugs are a common activity that individuals seek out. They can change a negative state of mind or situation into a positive one. Low self-esteem and addiction can go together.
Having low self-esteem can lead to a lack of development or a tendency towards drug consumption.
It is important also to realize that just because someone has low self-esteem does not mean that they are an addict. Of course, there are many other factors that come into play.
Addiction risk factors include family history, behavioral disorders, and more. Low Self-esteem can be a symptom of a multitude of conditions.
Tips on Improving Self-Esteem for Those Who Struggle With Addiction
There are many things you can do to help improve low self-esteem. Whether you are suffering from an addiction or not, these methods can work.
Recognize The Things in Which You Excel
Recognize the things in which you excel. Every single person is good at something, whether big or small. It could be singing, cooking, doing puzzles, giving advice. Or simply just being a good friend.
We enjoy things more when we are good at them. If we enjoy it, then it boosts our mood. Find things or continue doing things that you do well. Doing these activities can also take your mind off of other things.
Keep yourself busy. Participate in activities that you are good at and enjoy doing; this can help improve low self-esteem.
Build Positive Relationships to Increase Your Self-Esteem
It is also very important to build more positive relationships. It would be best if you tried to stay away from relationships that influence your drug use. Going back to those people or groups can make it difficult to stay away from drugs.
It brings the temptation back. If certain relationships bring you down, do your best to spend less time with them. Or tell them how you feel about them and their actions.
Making attempts at creating relationships with people who are positive and appreciate you are important.
Be kind to Yourself (and others)
Also, it is very important to be kind to yourself. Everyone has a tough time, and that is perfectly okay. It is also vital to remember that everyone makes mistakes. You are not alone at all.
So, be gentle with yourself at times when you feel yourself being too critical. We are our own worst critics, and that’s a common fact. When you are too critical of yourself, think of what you would say to a friend in a similar situation.
We tend to give our best advice to others versus giving it to ourselves. And along heard phrase, “Take your advice.” Apply good advice to daily life! We give our best advice to others, and if we gave it to ourselves, it would be helpful to recovery.
To be assertive, you must respect others’ opinions and their needs. And expect the same from them. It is mutual respect. But you must also request that respect by being assertive.
Being assertive means not allowing people to step over your boundaries and making your boundaries known to them. A good trick for being assertive is to look at other people and copy what they do.
Now, you are not pretending to be somebody else. You are picking up tips and hints from people that you admire. All of these changes allow the real you to come out. You will feel new and improved.
These are healthy behavior changes. So, making these healthy changes are very beneficial to having healthy boundaries and being assertive in them.
We all know saying “no” can be hard to do, especially to close friends or loved ones. It’s much easier to say yes, but saying yes to everyone can not be the best thing.
People that have low self-esteem usually feel like they have to say yes. Even if they may not want to do it, most people are concerned that if we say no, then they won’t like us. But that is not the case. For the most part, saying no does not upset relationships.
The risk is that you become overburdened, resentful, angry, and depressed. Negative feelings occur because you say yes to everything rather than keeping your boundaries known and saying no.
You’re not being true to yourself. It is helpful to keep saying no, but in different ways to ensure they get the message. Do what is best for you, even if that means saying no.
Give Yourself A Challenge
Feeling afraid is completely normal. We all feel nervous or afraid to do things sometimes. But having healthy self-esteem means not letting those feelings stop you.
You can’t allow your feelings to stop you from trying new things that you want to do. Fear is perfectly normal, but giving yourself a challenge or a goal can be helpful.
Start with small goals, reaching up to something big that you want to do. Set yourself a goal, like going to a social outing or joining an exercise class. Achieving the goals you make for yourself will help to increase your self-esteem.
Creating A Better Life!
Research shows that people with high self-esteem have a better quality of life. Compared to those with lower self-esteem.
Those go through more problems when adapting to life trends, which can affect their quality of life and overall life satisfaction. Mental and physical states originate from mental-psychological arrangements and thinking styles.
If you think more positively and more healthily, it deepens your view of your life. It can be helpful to see the bigger picture. And keep in mind that you are a part of the bigger picture. You fit into this beautiful thing called life like a puzzle piece. Life has a place for you!
Perception is Everything: Your Self-Esteem Affects How You Experience Life
You should maintain a healthy and realistic view of yourself. Learn to like and respect yourself, faults and all. Everyone is unique, and everyone is different. It is important to be assertive, be confident, secure honest relationships and be resilient. Everyone’s journey is different, but these are important guidelines to follow. This way, you can be prepared for your recovery and have already created new healthy behaviors. Creating these healthy behaviors will be continued in your recovery treatment program. When you value yourself and have good self-esteem, you feel secure in your body and mind. You also feel worthwhile. You can master these skills.
So, although addiction is a long and hard journey, addiction recovery is always an option, and there are plenty of resources out there to help you. We have plenty of resources available to help you find the best treatment program or options available to you. We are always here to help. If you have more questions or concerns or are looking for aid, contact us! We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact us at; (888) 906-0952—any time.
How Substance Abuse Treatment Can Help Heal Low-Self Esteem
Improving your self-esteem can have a positive impact on someone that is suffering from an addiction. Or something that is trying to recover from addiction. Since self-esteem can be a contributing factor among drug abuse causes, it’s very helpful if you can resolve it. Most drug abuse programs help address depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. Improving self-esteem means addressing all of the problems listed above.
Addiction treatment, support groups, and mental health counseling make the participant reflect on themselves. Self reflection usually prompts individuals to make necessary changes.
The program also requires patients to make changes in their behavior. Healthy behavior changes result in an improvement in self-esteem. It makes the participant validate themselves and feel rewarded for making changes in their lives and dealing with others. Addiction can leave many negative impacts on a person. It imposes on their cognitive and psychological growth.
Getting Free from Being Dependent on Substances
Some look at substances as how they buried hurtful emotions and memories. Sometimes, the painful memories arrived after the use started — sometimes before. However, using and past trauma almost always go hand in hand.
When a person stops using and gets clean and sober, the guilt, shame, and remorse can hit like floodwaters. Negative feelings may seem like something to avoid at all costs. However, the contrary is true. These issues will only get worse and more painful the longer they are avoided. In some cases, the fear of confronting the past is worse than actually working through the issue.
At the core of this pain is the belief that you should have been different and that the person you were is not good enough. Find the courage to forgive yourself, and the pain will fall away like the leaves in fall. You are perfect just the way you are.
Self-esteem and self-image are critical to your successful recovery from addiction and self-defeating behaviors. Treatment centers work with each client to identify the core issues plaguing their self-esteem and desire to use.
Right now is your chance to find the you that you love, respect, and cherish. It is not an impossible or unworthy task. You are just as important as everyone else. We hope you will take a chance on yourself and find the inner peace and love that heals all wounds.