Many people will tell you that recovery from drugs and alcohol begins with recognizing and accepting that your drinking or substance abuse is a problem. While it is an essential first step, authentic healing begins more profoundly with self-acceptance.
To accept oneself—flaws and all is what it means to be truly human. Many people who begin using drugs or develop problematic drinking behaviors do so from silent psychological prompts of low self-esteem and self-worth, which are directly linked to a lack of self-acceptance and self-love.
When we accept ourselves, our past mistakes, shortcomings, and imperfections, we can also begin to accept others and circumstances. With acceptance, people start to shy away from casting blame and the negative emotion of constantly feeling victimized in some way. They can then begin the journey of recovery from substance use disorder by loving themselves and making better choices along the way.
What is Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance is the ability to accept yourself as you are—the good and the bad. It doesn't mean that you have to like everything about yourself or don't want to change things. It means accepting the person you are at this present moment.
Self-acceptance can be a challenging task because most of us judge ourselves unkindly. It is a prevalent but under-discussed mental health issue. Many people are highly critical of themselves and often set high standards that are sometimes impossible to reach. We may even compare ourselves to others and find ourselves lacking.
Pushing past these negative thoughts is vital to your mental health. It is only when we learn to accept ourselves that we can move forward in life.
Frustration and exhaustion are expected outcomes of attempts to move an immovable object. Even though we may be imperfect, it is our responsibility to accept ourselves the way we are. Some things in life must be taken for what they are, regardless of how we feel about them.
For example, specific genes increase a person's risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes. Since a person's genes cannot be changed, it is up to the individual to make the most of what they have. Accepting things you can't change will help you "be all right" with situations you can't change.
The Connection Between Self-Acceptance and Addiction
If you have low self-worth and self-esteem, you might think that the only way to change that is by doing something that makes you feel good. And this is often when drug and alcohol abuse occurs. The truth is that substances only help temporarily, and once the high is over, you are right back where you started or sometimes feel worse. It's a never-ending, vicious cycle that can trap you in and deepen your alcohol or drug addiction.
A belief in one's inherent value, regardless of perceived imperfections, expectations or limitations, is self-acceptance. Accepting one's current situation, even struggling with alcohol addiction or after years of drug abuse, without feeling ashamed is necessary to embrace oneself truly. As a result, you feel more at ease in the face of the world because they have nothing to hide.
Acceptance of yourself wholly and completely, then taking constructive action, like seeking treatment for substance abuse, go hand-in-hand. It is an essential part of the healing process. There are many ways this concept can be applied to prioritizing one's efforts in creating healthy self-esteem and good emotional health.
Recovery is more than just addictive behavior. However, it hinges on a person's ability to come to terms with the fact that some things like negative feelings from trauma or negative consequences from poor choices in life cannot be changed without help.
Refusing to accept this fact will only result in more suffering. Most drug users do so to dull the pain of their daily struggles. Unfortunately, substances can't erase a person's negative self-image. Avoiding reality isn't an option when you have a substance use disorder or alcoholism. Relapse is less likely in people dealing with addiction who can accept and love themselves and give themselves self-compassion.
Why Is Self-Acceptance Important in Recovery?
Recovery and self-acceptance cannot be accomplished in a single day. They need a significant amount of time and work. As a result, one would be incomplete without the other. Self-acceptance is like a stimulant for recovery. Drugs and alcohol may take on a life of their own when a person is addicted to them. So, you may feel disoriented and confused as you go through treatment and eventually prepare to leave rehab.
Beginning to construct a new life in sobriety is redefining yourself. It is a byproduct of unconditional self-acceptance. You risk impairing your re-designed self with poor self-esteem if you do not accept yourself while in recovery.
When you're fighting with addiction, it might not be easy to see how far you've come in your recovery because of feelings of self-doubt. Don't lose sight of all the progress you've made! It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of unhealthy behaviors if you don’t recognize your strengths and value.
How to Practice Self-Acceptance
These tips may help you achieve self-acceptance, which can strengthen your recovery.
· Trust your intuition and let it direct you to the right path.
- Develop the practice of facing your inner critical voice to stop negative self-talk; you need support, not criticism.
- Give yourself the same compassion you would give to a close friend when you are in emotional pain or feel discouraged.
- Let go of the past and stop beating yourself up over mistakes you’ve made and will likely continue to make as you work towards a better version of yourself in your recovery.
- Do activities such as loving-kindness or mindfulness meditation, which may help you cultivate a more incredible feeling of self-acceptance and self-love.
- Set appropriate expectations for yourself, and don't expect yourself to behave like a saint; you’re only human, with positive aspects, but bound to make mistakes.
Contact a substance abuse rehab like Wish Recovery that understands the importance of self-love and true self-acceptance as part of holistic recovery from drugs and alcohol for more information about addiction treatment.
There are significant differences between inpatient and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment. The end goal is the same—lasting recovery and a better life.
There are behavioral, physical, cognitive and psychological symptoms of prescription drug abuse. Fortunately, there is also help to stop and prevent overdose.
Discover an inpatient treatment program tailor-made for you to heal your mind and body. Wish Recovery is a residential rehab that understands your needs.