As most addiction specialists and recovering individuals know, active addiction can wreak havoc on one’s confidence. There have been many instances when one’s unhealthy self-esteem spurred the drug use that led to a life of addiction, which in and of itself come with a series of traumas and tragedies that can impact one’s inner and outer perspective.
Not to mention, when addiction is involved, the entire family’s self-esteem also suffers, which can drive codependent tendencies. That’s why it is vital for people in recovery and their family members to seek outside help to gather the tools they need to rebuild (or build) their self-esteem.
Bettie Youngs ‘6 Vital Ingredients’
According to Dr. Bettie Youngs, author of “How to Develop Self-Esteem in Your Child,” there are six things every individual needs to acquire healthy self-esteem. Although Young originally formed her assessment for parents who aim to raise confidence in their children, the list remains valid for adults who must call to themselves as the parent of their “inner child.”
Here are six things people must check off to heal or finally develop healthy self-esteem.
1. Sense of Physical Safety
Constantly having to worry about defending yourself is not conducive to developing oneself. That’s why recovering individuals and family members need to feel physically safe within their treatment and home environment.
2. Sense of Emotional Security
The person needs open communication, careful confrontation, and assessment. He or she must be removed from emotionally toxic environments where they may be surrounded by verbal abuse, codependent behaviors, shaming, over-criticizing, blaming, threatening, and punishing.
3. Sense of Identity
Identity is almost always in question when people enter into addiction treatment. Additionally, the identity of the family is fragile and threatened as well. The re-establishment of identity without active addiction is a vital element of recovery and necessary to repair self-esteem. Recovering individuals need to look to other basic aspects of themselves as defining factors, such as being a parent, sibling, friend, student, employee, employer, or a person recovering to reform their sense of identity.
4. Sense of Belonging
Recovering individuals and their families need to feel a sense of social acceptance, validation, and connection. Because of this, recovery and sober living communities are essential for achieving a sense of belonging and healthy self-esteem.
5. Sense of Mission
Recovering persons and family members need to find their individual passion or purpose. Some make their experience and personal journey from active addiction to successful recovery a passionate mission. They may take that sense of purpose a step further by pursuing an education in the addiction field to become addiction professionals or authoring a book detailing their experiences in the hopes of helping others. Many others end up realizing dreams that have absolutely nothing to do with addiction or recovery. Regardless of the mission, the person must find out what makes them tick and pursue it with fervor.
6. Sense of Competency
Sometimes, codependent and enabling family members of people who struggle with addiction feel the need to control their loved ones. This prevents them from developing a sense of competency (among other things). However, every individual needs to know that they can encourage self-esteem and success in recovery.
People recovering from addiction and family members who work together to ensure that these six elements are met will not only raise broken self-esteem, they will also likely see a successful, lifelong recovery for themselves as individuals and as a family.