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5 Self-Esteem Building Skills Taught in Drug Rehab

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Webster’s Dictionary defines self-esteem as confidence and satisfaction with oneself. Drug and alcohol addiction causes many addicts to lose their self-esteem through poor choices and judgment. After completing drug rehab, addicts begin to feel better about themselves and, with time and consistency in behavior, self-esteem grows.


Self-esteem is learned and encouraged in childhood through interactions and experiences we have with parents, teachers, and peers. It is also built through different activities like playing a sport or having a hobby. Individuals build self-esteem through excelling in activities or situations.

Self-esteem is built by:

  • Nurturing/Guidance
  • Confidence
  • Successfully overcoming obstacles

Boundary setting has a tremendous impact on self-esteem, especially when alcohol and drug addiction are present. Most addicts cross their own and others’ boundaries during substance abuse. This has a negative impact on self-esteem and results in self-criticism, which perpetuates the cycle of addiction.

Drug Addiction Tears Down Self-Esteem

When an addict uses drugs and alcohol, he or she is changing brain and body chemistry. These changes have a negative impact on the ability to have a healthy sense of self-esteem, which is negotiated in our thought patterns. Negative thoughts automatically accompany drug and alcohol addiction.

Three areas of self-esteem that are negatively influenced by substance abuse are:

  1. Thought Process – An addict often struggles with remorseful thoughts during or after using. These could include:
    • “I am so dumb.”
    • “I suck.”
    • “How dumb do I have to be to do this again? I must be insane.”
  2. Decision Making – Addicts sometimes make choices that are directly harmful, such as poor time management, missed workdays or fighting with loved ones who attempt to interfere with the addiction.
  3. Boundary Setting – Addicts may cross boundaries or neglect themselves to support their habit. Examples of such activities are:
    • Prostituting for money
    • Stealing
    • Lying
    • Cheating

The consistent pattern of poor decision making, boundary violation, and negative thinking contributes to the tearing down of an addict’s self-esteem. Low self-esteem makes addicts believe that they are not worthy of addiction treatment, but addiction treatment is the very thing that will help increase their self-esteem.

Drug Rehab Rebuilds Self-Esteem

Once an addict makes the decision to enter drug rehab, his or her self-esteem will positively change. Making the choice and commitment to stop substance abuse will help the addict correct issues in the three areas that are contributing to low self-esteem. The disease of addiction perpetuates low self-esteem, essentially creating another reason for continued substance abuse. Improving self-esteem begins with eliminating substance abuse and can be continued with 5 changes in behavior. These skills are taught in drug rehab by addiction therapists who understand the importance of rebuilding self-esteem. These 5 changes are:

  1. Healthy Decision Making
  2. Healthy Boundary Setting
  3. Reframing Negative Thoughts
  4. Practicing Positive Affirmations
  5. Surrounding Yourself with Sober, Positive People

Stepping Stone Center offers comprehensive treatment, helping the addict regain positive self-esteem through achieving sobriety. These 5 changes in behavior are taught in our addiction treatment program by our addiction therapists.

Call Now and Make the Best Choice of Your Life

If you or a loved one has suffered a loss of self-esteem because of addiction, please contact one of our Stepping Stone Center coordinators at 866-957-4960. Start rebuilding your self-esteem by entering treatment today.

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