Self-Affirmation (n): the act of affirming one's own worthiness and value as an individual for beneficial effect (such as increasing one's confidence or raising self-esteem).
During addiction recovery, practicing self-affirmations and attempting to uplift oneself in life is usually easier said than done. We are, after all, our own worst critics, and when we are in a negative headspace, positive affirmations or words can feel especially hard. Regardless of circumstance or privilege, it can be hard to be your own cheerleader and remain positive and uplifting. At times, it may even feel odd or uncomfortable to put into words how you feel about yourself or your capabilities. However, when practiced, positive affirmations have the ability to change one’s mindset, and ultimately their life, for the better.
The Challenge to be Self-Affirming
For those in addiction recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), utilizing positive affirmations and words in their daily life has the potential to help manage addiction, as those who suffer from AUD often experience feelings of low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth.
Individuals struggling to maintain sobriety may be grappling with guilt from former relationships that have since dissolved due to their addiction(s) or having difficulty accepting and learning to live with the consequences of their actions. Whatever the case may be, people in addiction recovery from AUD are often more challenged when listing positive attributes or voicing self-affirmations about themselves.
As unique as someone’s road to alcohol recovery, self-affirmations need to be specific to the individual. There’s no particular set of positive affirmations that work for everyone. Still, there are common themes those struggling are encouraged to follow and that by including in their treatment plan can help support them in managing their addiction.
Improve Your Mental Health with Self Affirmations
For sustained recovery and managing your addiction, improving your mental health is equally important as your physical health. Neglecting one over the other can increase the chances of relapse and slow down your overall progress.
Similar to Olympians, individuals in early recovery from substance abuse may largely benefit from tending to their minds in the same way they focus on their bodies. You can’t expect a gymnast to win gold during their floor routine if their mind is disconnected from their legs. The same can be said about someone with AUD who only focuses on their physical lack of alcohol intake; concentrating on one’s mind is also a part of a successful treatment plan.
Why Do Self Affirmation’s Work?
Practicing activities like mindfulness and positive self-affirmation during addiction recovery can help boost confidence, calm nerves, and improve mental strength. Positive self-affirmations have even been scientifically proven to reduce the stress of external threats and improve performance.
If you’re going through a rough patch or feel like you’re stuck in a rut in your life, self-affirmations can work wonders to reset negative thoughts, adjust your perspective, and keep you on track to healthy sobriety.
Setting aside a little bit of time every day to practice self-care and positivity can help you take stock of your mental state and shift focus to different elements of your recovery if needed. Slowing down to appreciate your positive attributes and extol the virtues of the person you are becoming during your addiction recovery journey can help you develop a more positive perspective in life, allowing affirmations to flow naturally.
10 Simple Self-Affirmations For Improved Recovery
While there’s no set list of positive affirmations proven to work for every individual during addiction treatment, there are general statements you can make that can improve confidence and recovery; it is essential to find positive affirmations that work for you specifically. Bolster your feelings of personal worth and well-being with some of these basic positive affirmations:
- Every day, in every way, I am getting better.
- I can, and I will.
- I will be a better me.
- I am worthy of great things.
- I like the person I’m becoming.
- All of my problems have a solution.
- I press on because I believe in my path.
- The past has no power over me anymore.
- I have many strengths.
- I am in charge of my life story.
Getting into the habit of repeating these positive sentiments or a variation of these words can help build upon core values learned during treatment. If none of these positive affirmations feel suitable to your recovery path, identify phrases and words that resonate with you personally and record them in a journal or repeat them to yourself. Again, the most important part of your self-affirmation process is finding a mantra that works for you.
Other Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
Self-affirmations are a wonderful place to start when trying to change your inner dialogue to a more forgiving, kind, and supportive influence. However, there are other addiction treatment tools that, when paired with positive affirmations, have the ability to help you achieve long-standing positive mental health during the management of your addiction.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and practicing mindfulness go hand in hand with positive affirmations. Often, they are paired together in one practice.
Meditation is the practice of listening, acknowledging, and coming back to your breath, and paying attention when your mind begins to wander. Meditating is known to lower stress and anxiety and help you get in tune with your mind and body.
While there are many ways to meditate, one way to support yourself in recovery is to include positive affirmations into your meditative practice. Simply listen and focus on your breath while repeating your positive affirmation to yourself.
Exercise and Movement
Moving your body and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can also help with creating positive mental health. It is known to reduce stress and anxiety and improve one’s self worth.
Just like finding self-affirmations that work is an individual process, so is finding the correct type of exercise. Walking, swimming, yoga, and running all make good options. However, choose something that makes you excited to complete and fits nicely into your life.
Elicit Technology for Support
It may not be enough for some individuals navigating AUD to simply rely on positive verbal feedback, meditation, or exercise to improve their recovery and prevent relapse. In these instances, individuals should consider incorporating remote alcohol monitoring technology into their life to help with progress tracking and data-sharing.
Comprehensive systems like Soberlink offer positive feedback in the form of color-coded dots. The intuitive system, which is considered a premier Aftercare tool by thousands of Addiction Treatment Providers, allows Monitored Clients to track their progress daily, weekly, or monthly using the system’s Advanced Reporting feature.
Unique to the company, Soberlink Advanced Reporting uses a universal color code to log client data. A green dot represents a Compliant Test, yellow dots indicate Missed or Late Tests, and red dots equal Non-Compliant Tests, suggesting alcohol was detected in the breath.
Why Choose Soberlink?
The Soberlink system continues to gain popularity because it isn’t punitive in its approach. The remote breathalyzer, at its core, is intended to be used as an accountability tool for individuals in early recovery from alcohol addiction. Using scheduled versus random tests, a person knows when their next test is approaching, helping to decrease anxiety and reducing the urge to drink. After a person tests, the alcohol testing device shares the individual’s results in real-time with their Recovery Circle, helping to rebuild trust and mend damaged relationships over time.
Many people are motivated by physical and instant accountability. Where other practices like meditation or self-affirmations work wonders, they may take time to see results. With Soberlink’s immediate response, the instant gratification they receive when receiving positive feedback can positively affect one’s self-esteem.
Systems like Soberlink can help improve self-worth, as clients can easily track their progress day after day and share their results with loved ones. Soberlink’s Advanced Reporting capabilities offer visual feedback, which in some cases, is just as valuable to incorporate into your life as verbal self-affirmations and positive words.
Consistency Is Key
Individuals struggling with AUD often understand that just like with affirmations - consistency is key. Being regimented in your recovery and establishing new daily habits to replace harmful ones is critical to sustained sobriety and preventing a slip or relapse.
A person’s recovery is often dependent on the health of their mind, body, and soul. It’s typically not enough to abstain from drinking; a robust recovery usually involves practicing emotional and physical self-care in conjunction with sobriety. Taking the time to affirm yourself and verbalize self-affirmations is an important part of the process.
For some in recovery, this may be foreign territory. Years of alcohol addiction and substance abuse can prevent someone from adopting new healthy habits and behaviors like self-affirmations. But like most things, the simple act of repeating behaviors until they are ingrained in your day-to-day life can heed positive outcomes in one’s life. Incorporating positive affirmations or other tools like meditation and Soberlink’s remote breathalyzer into your routine will likely take little to no effort down the road, as they’ll simply become a part of your life and routine.
How to Be Consistent in Your Practice
Being consistent in keeping your mental health in check takes work, but it does not need to be made to seem impossible. There are a few ways to implement these self-care tools to stay consistent and reap the benefits they have to offer.
Create a Schedule/Routine
Creating a schedule or routine will help you stay on track with your self-care practices. By performing them at the same time every day, they will slowly become a part of your life and will be hard to not complete.
To start, schedule these practices like you would a doctor's appointment or lunch date with a friend (two events you are not likely to miss). Doing so will help you establish these healthy habits and create a routine for you to follow.
While self-accountability is a wonderful tool, sometimes we need others to help keep us on track – especially in recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder. When starting a new routine or self-care practice, communicate with those in your Recovery Circle about this next step in your treatment journey.
You may ask others to help by reaching out and asking about your new self-care practice, or maybe you start scheduling things like walks together. Having someone to keep you accountable will help you avoid negative thoughts and stick to this new practice.
Progress Not Perfection
The first year of recovery is often the hardest. People are learning how to navigate their chronic illnesses and repair damaged relationships. However, saying one or two good things about yourself a day positively affects mental health and self-image. Maybe it’s as simple as making dinner and telling yourself it tastes good. Or perhaps a positive affirmation could be said after completing treatment, “I’m proud of myself for sticking it out.” Whatever the declaration may be, they’re almost as important as not drinking.
How we see and talk to ourselves matters. While no one is expecting you to recite a guided meditation, giving yourself verbal high fives throughout the day can significantly impact recovery.
And remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination. If you slip up and miss a day of meditation or self-affirmation, simply be kind to yourself and start again the next day. Progress is what we’re aiming for, not perfection.
Make Self-Affirmations Work For You
Positive affirmations are meant to be helpful, not harmful. Don’t wake up in the morning and tell yourself you have to be perfect – that will likely only produce negative thoughts. Unnecessary pressure can hinder recovery and disrupt progress made. Tell yourself instead that you will be better and continue to do your best, despite the past and your chronic illness.
Make your self-affirmations a morning ritual, and before you know it, you’ll start believing what you tell yourself. Eventually, your positive affirmations will no longer be forced. Instead, they’ll be an extension of who you are and the person you’re becoming.
Remember, everyone’s road to recovery looks different, and experiencing negative thoughts during early recovery is normal. What works for some may not work for others. The above Positive Affirmation List is intended to be used as a general guideline for someone looking to incorporate this important form of self-care into their recovery.