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Many recovering alcoholics and addicts struggle with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. They may think of their lives as hopeless, worthless, and disastrous to those they care about. Addiction is the disaster, not the recovering addict. Good recovery treatment programs provide tools to help build self-esteem because as an essential recovery resource.

Self-esteem is a subjective value that people apply to themselves. It’s closely related to self worth. It’s how we see ourselves in relation to the world around us. High self-esteem helps people to be more optimistic about life, to have ambitions and goals, and to make better choices and decisions. Conversely, people with low self-esteem have a more negative view of life, have few goals beyond surviving or getting by, and make poorer decisions because they don’t feel they are worthy or deserve better.

Self-esteem evolves and develops over the course of our lives as we build an image of ourselves through our relationships and experiences. The experiences during early childhood are especially important because they lay the foundation that the future layers of our self-image are built upon. People who grow up with little praise and emotional support, or who have been abused emotionally or physically, are especially likely to have low self-esteem.

Initially, alcohol and drugs can temporarily make people with low self-esteem feel better about themselves by numbing some of the negative feelings they have. They create a temporary, false sense of confident when they drink or take drugs. However, these feelings don’t have the underlying support of being developed and rooted in their personality, so they disappear when the effects of the alcohol or drugs wear off. Then they become the person again with all the attendant problems and attitudes, but now feel worse because they have experienced feeling better.

At some point, what may have started as casual, social drinking or drug taking escalates, fueled by the need to escape and find some place in their head and heart where they feel better. Their become fixated on ways to feel better as much as possible, as often as possible, no matter what the cost to themselves or anyone around them. Drugs and/or alcohol become the “quick fix” to the major underlying gap in the development of the personality.

Low self-esteem is high on the list of causes that fuel the vicious circle of alcoholism and/or drug addiction that, in turn, lead to more feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. Recovery resources that build self-esteem are essential to turn these dynamics around and break this harmful cycle.

The only way an alcoholic or drug addict can break their addictions is to go within to rebuild the foundations of self-esteem and self worth, to provide real, lasting inner strength, courage and spirit. Once this is done, they can raise their sights and start to build a better life.

Christian-based alcohol and drug treatment programs provide an additional spiritual aspect as a recovery resource that builds self-esteem. Opening up a relationship and dialogue with God builds inner strength and confidence. No matter what has happened previously in an alcoholic’s or an addict’s life, to know that God forgives all and offers love, hope and new beginnings is a priceless treasure. It is a real promise of a better life to come.

Albert Black

Albert Black is the founder and CEO of Recovery in the Pines, the premier Christian-based, extended-care, addiction treatment center, located in Prescott, AZ, offering holistic wellness for drug and alcohol dependency. For more information about Recovery in the Pines, go to its website at: http://recoveryinthepines.com/ or contact Albert Black by phone at: (928) 308-4311 or email at: albertblack@recoveryinthepines.com