Finding aspects of ourselves that we love can be a challenge. When you are someone who has struggled with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or addiction, this challenge may become even greater.
Oftentimes, those living with addiction feel embarrassment or shame around their disease. This makes self-accountability difficult as many struggling with addiction do not believe they deserve help.
Negative thoughts about oneself are common during recovery, and it can be strenuous trying to change your own self talk-track. Utilizing words of affirmation during recovery is a beneficial way to turn those negative thoughts into positive and effective mantras that will assist you in managing your addiction and avoid relapse.
What is an Affirmation?
An affirmation is positively asserting, validating, or expressing a strong belief about oneself. In the case of recovery, self-affirmation means lifting yourself up with your own words or mantras to help build confidence and momentum during your recovery journey.
Affirmations and mantras are simply statements that you believe about yourself or hope to believe about yourself one day. Specifically, they are all positive statements repeated over and over in your head to help bring you peace and remind you how deserving you are of a life free of substance abuse.
These affirmations are meant to help you increase your self-esteem and self-worth while dismantling old or limiting beliefs you once had about yourself.
Words of Affirmation to Help in Your Recovery
While there is no set list of affirmations proven to work for every individual, there are general statements you can make that can improve confidence and recovery. Regardless of what affirmations you choose, it is important to find ones that work for you specifically.
Enhance 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 forgive myself for past mistakes.
- 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 (be specific on what your strengths are. For example, “I am a great friend.”)
- I deserve love and support.
- My addiction does not define me.
- I am in charge of my life story.
Creating a habit of repeating the positive statements above or a variation of them can help with managing addiction by building upon the core values you are learning through your treatment or recovery. If these affirmations do not resonate with you, find phrases and sayings that you find personally helpful. The most important part of utilizing affirmations is finding mantras that work for you.
How to Use Affirmations
Though there are no rules to affirmations, here are a few tips to ensure their effectiveness:
1. Keep Affirmations Short
You want to make sure your affirmations are short yet effective. They should be simple statements that you believe or want to believe about yourself and should be no longer than one sentence.
Keeping them short and simple helps you remember them and allows you to utilize multiple mantras when speaking through the affirmations.
2. Speak Affirmations Out Loud
It may feel funny at first, but speaking your affirmations out loud can be a powerful tool in your recovery. Especially in the beginning of utilizing mantras in your recovery, saying them out loud oftentimes allows them to start to become more believable than speaking them in your head.
Eventually, when these mantras become like second nature, saying them quietly to yourself will suffice. But if you find yourself hesitant or resisting at any point, go back to saying them out loud to get you back on track.
3. Stay Consistent
Like any tool in recovery, consistency with affirmations is crucial to reaping its benefits.
Consistency with these affirmations will lead to them feeling like second nature. Once you get to that point, utilizing these affirmations becomes beneficial in both a practiced setting and when you may need a bit of peace in a triggering moment.
One way to remain consistent is by scheduling when and where you will speak your affirmations. Maybe it is in the morning while looking in the mirror or before you fall asleep while lying in bed. Find what works best for you and stick to it.
Though they may or may not feel great initially, your confidence and desire to stay in recovery will grow as you keep up this practice.
3. Remain Present and Positive
How you speak to yourself matters. When creating affirmations, ensure you are remaining in the present by using “I” statements like “I am strong” or “I deserve love and affection” not “I will one day be strong.” Speaking in the present allows you to slowly start becoming who you are affirming as you start believing what you are saying.
Additionally, speaking in a positive or uplifting manner is a necessity. Never say statements like, “I do not want to be an addict” or “I cannot move forward until I heal” as they can become counterproductive; remain vigilantly positive for the affirmations to do their job.
Progress > Perfection
Adding a new tool to your recovery can feel overwhelming and intimidating at times. Adding a new tool in which you are required to speak highly of yourself when healing from an isolating disease like addiction may be the most overwhelming and intimidating.
Know that these feelings are valid. However, also know that utilizing affirmations does in fact work to boost self-esteem and assist with sustaining recovery. Stick with it; slowly but surely, you will begin to see progress and start believing the mantras you have created for yourself.