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).
For some, being self-affirming is easier said than done. We are, after all, our own worst critics. Throw in a global pandemic, perhaps a little weight gain, and a hearty amount of sweatpants, and you, too, may struggle with being complimentary towards yourself.
An Addict’s Dilemma
For those in recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), feelings of low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth are often amplified and can plague your day-to-day even more. 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 with AUD are often more challenged when it comes to listing things they’re either proud of or like 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 affirmations that work for everyone, but there are common themes those struggling are encouraged to follow.
Improve Your Mental Health
For sustained recovery, improving your mental health is equally as 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 lack of alcohol intake.
Practicing activities like mindfulness and daily self-affirmation 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, self-affirmations can work wonders to reset negative thoughts, adjust your perspective, and keep you on track to healthy sobriety.
Just like yoga and meditation, setting aside a little bit of time every day to practice self-care 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 journey can help you develop a more positive perspective.
Elicit Technology for Support
For some individuals navigating AUD, it may not be enough to simply rely on verbal feedback to improve their recovery and prevent relapse. In these instances, individuals should consider incorporating remote alcohol monitoring technology 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 hundreds 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.
The Soberlink system continues to gain in 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.
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 as verbal self-affirmations.
Simple Self-Affirmations for Improved Recovery
While there’s no set list of affirmations proven to work for every individual, there are general statements you can make that can improve confidence and recovery. 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 them can help build upon core values learned during treatment. If none of these affirmations feel suitable to your recovery path, identify phrases and sayings that resonate with you personally and record them in a journal.
Consistency is Key
Individuals struggling with AUD often understand that 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.
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. But like most things, the simple act of repeating behaviors until they are ingrained in your day-to -day can heed positive outcomes. Incorporating positive affirmations into your routine will likely take little to no effort down the road, as they’ll simply be a part of you and how you speak to yourself.
Progress Not Perfection
No one is asking or expecting you to be the Dalai Lama. The first year of recovery is often the hardest. People are learning how to navigate their chronic illness and repair damaged relationships. Saying one or two good things about yourself a day has a positive effect on 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 have a significant impact on recovery.
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. 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. You may even share your experience using them with those in your Recovery Circle, encouraging them to incorporate them into their daily routine to heal emotional wounds.
Remember, everyone’s road to recovery looks different. What works for some may not work for others. The above 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.
If you’re interested in getting started, watch little Jessica demonstrate how to start your day by clicking here.
About the Author
Shelby Hendrix is a blogger from the Northern Midwest with close personal ties to the addiction world. She focuses on the addiction landscape to reach out to those fighting alcoholism and compel them to seek an informed, healthy recovery.