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When most people get sober, they often “make amends” to those they harmed during their addiction. While this tradition is an important aspect, especially in the 12-step world, the one person we usually leave out is ourselves. Getting clean and sober is an illuminating experience that exposes many painful truths of our drug or alcohol addiction. While it is okay to feel a sense of shame and disappointment, it’s critical to forgive yourself and learn to love yourself in recovery.

Forgive and Move On

Forgive and forget is a phrase mom’s have been saying to children since the beginning of time. Forgiveness creates peace and helps mend relationships. We’re always quick to forgive others, but what about ourselves? Dwelling on the past isn’t helpful but looking back through a sober lens is advantageous to your personal growth.

Be proud of how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished.  Self-forgiveness is the first piece towards loving yourself. Learn to love this person completely and without hesitation. Your sobriety depends on it.

Embrace Gratitude & Acceptance

You have conquered demons that have taken you from bottom to a place where you can see a future of hope and opportunity. Sobriety is one of life’s greatest gifts. Appreciate the opportunity for restoration you have been blessed with and the strength you’ve demonstrated to get through it. Being a grateful, recovering addict will make every moment count. Absorb it all and love yourself again, or perhaps learn to love yourself for the first time. Self-respect leads to acceptance, and acceptance creates peace. After completing addiction treatment and continuing with individual therapy, you’ll learn that making yourself a priority is not selfish; but rather a necessity if you’re going to persevere through some of the bumps in the road that lie ahead.

You’re Imperfectly Perfect!

After suffering substance use disorder, you’ve come out on the other side with some scars you can talk about. In fact, there’s a good chance that the peers you attended drug rehab with know more about your scars than your own family. They may never disappear— and that’s OK. Your memories can reemerge as dreams, and difficult experiences may still bother you for some time. Your life won’t go from bottom to the best version of yourself overnight. Time takes time!

Self-love doesn’t mean you won’t have preoccupations once in a while. This too will get better with time.  Today, find the empathy that allows you to see the past with perspective so you can still enjoy the bright moments. Achieving perfection is like searching for a unicorn. It’s not likely you’re going to find a unicorn or achieve a version of perfection that meets impossible standards. Instead, embrace your imperfections, celebrate every milestone, and learn from your mistakes.

About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.

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