When it comes to seeking treatment for substance use disorder, we are often at our lowest mentally and physically. We may have made some big mistakes, and likely lack control of our lives. We can feel anything from downhearted to broken to completely worthless. Yet the decision to seek help for substance use and begin our recovery takes tremendous strength. The question arises: “How can I be strong when I feel so worthless?”
Taking the First Step
Sometimes, the first step feels like a last resort. In some cases, we are encouraged by friends and family, even sometimes by work or court order. Everyone takes that first step for different reasons, but in all cases, that first step is an act of strength. It means we are strong enough to surrender, strong enough to do the right thing, whether it was our idea or not. We may not feel strong, but there is strength in admitting that we need help, and can no longer do what we have been doing on our own.
That first step is so important because even if we feel worthless, we have shown others and ourselves that we are worth helping. There is strength in taking this first step and demonstrates that we believe in ourselves enough to want a change in our lives.
Believing in Ourselves
We draw strength when we believe in ourselves and our worth, perhaps more strongly than we initially thought was possible. It may not start with the conscious affirmation, “I believe in myself,” but rather a willingness to accept that we are worth recovering. Slowly but surely, this willingness to accept belief in ourselves grows when we succeed at each little step. Making the call. Entering treatment. Completing detox. At each landmark on our road to recovery, we demonstrate a growing belief in ourselves and our ability to succeed in not only recovery but at life as well.
As we enter therapy, we begin to learn new habits and skills. We may often exceed our expectations of what we thought we were capable of, transforming our once worthless feelings of self into even greater belief in self. As we are recovering from our substance use and start to healing, we begin to see the change in mindset. We look in the mirror one morning and realize that little by little we have built belief in ourselves where there was none. Even if we do not say it out loud, our experiences and successes in recovery help us to realize that we can do this, all of it, even if it’s one day or one hour at a time.
Increasing Our Self-Worth
Often we measure our self-worth by our actions and how they are perceived by those around us. When we are doing well, we celebrate by using substances. When we inevitably cause harm or are not our best selves, we drink and use to feel better about ourselves. This process is a repetitive and unproductive cycle; the more we use a substance, the more wreckage we cause, the more wreckage we cause, the more we want to try to feel good again. The cycle continues until we are drinking or using just to try to feel okay with ourselves. There is a reason our self-worth drops in doing this: It is often one step forward, and two steps back.
When we begin treatment, however, we have so many successes to celebrate and so much productivity as we start our recovery. Each hour we stay sober in the beginning is a triumph. Then comes the breakthroughs in therapy, our physical fitness improves, we start eating healthier and our bodies feel so much better. When we are not clouded by substances, and the wreckage that follows in their wake, we can do so much more every day. Just knowing that all of the people helping us in our recovery can make us feel like we are worth the work, helping us to realize our own self-worth. When we are physically and mentally able to focus on things other than our substance use each day, we remember all of the good qualities in us and realize what others around us can see: that we have great worth.
Being Confident in Our Own Strength
The further we progress on our recovery path, we start to realize that we are strong. We believe in ourselves, we have self-worth, and we have enough strength to get out of bed each day. We can put one foot in front of another, and do things we may have once thought were too hard for us. We are strong, and getting stronger. Each day we realize that we did have strength all along, but that every day we worked in our recovery, our strength grew that much more. We can have confidence in our abilities knowing that we are brave and strong.
Those of us in recovery can vividly remember the feelings of worthlessness we had while using substances. We also know that those feelings were not the truth. No matter who we are, no matter what we have done, each of us has great worth. We may not feel strong, but we are strong enough to resign from our old ways and get help. As we believe in ourselves and our confidence grows, we learn that we are strong. Find your worth, confidence and strength. You deserve to see what others see in you. You are strong.
You are stronger than you know. You are worth finding your self-worth again. Call AToN Center at (888) 535-1516 today.