Many people with substance use disorders also have self-esteem issues. This can be for multiple reasons. Quite often, children who are the victims of physical, emotional or verbal abuse exhibit low self-esteem. These individuals will be at higher risk of experimenting with drugs or alcohol because they will use these substances to mask their pain and fears. Many will enter new abusive relationships as adults and will continue to self-medicate.
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When these individuals seek help, a common statement is that for the first time, they feel like their lives are worthwhile or that their lives and feelings matter. Learning to respect and love yourself is a crucial piece of recovery. As you develop positive feelings about yourself and raise your self-esteem, you will find you make and succeed at your goals and continue to build confidence. While in the protective setting of a treatment center, this part is not terribly challenging. However, once back into the real world, this is a phase that can send a client to relapse as goals might not fall into place as easily.
One way to protect yourself from relapse when things don’t seem to be going your way is to stay active in an aftercare group or by attending 12-Step meetings.