The vast majority of addicts and alcoholics have taken part in unfavorable and adverse activities while active in their addictions. It is not uncommon for those who have previously battled substance dependency for extended periods of time to stoop to low levels in order to obtain their drug of choice or merely because morals have fallen secondary to addiction, and the line between right and wrong has become blurred. Because of the inauspicious acts we as addicts have likely committed, it is not uncommon for us to experience overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame upon first becoming sober. Because of this, self-loathing is an unfortunate part of many of our stories. “I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror – I hated who I had become.” “I wanted nothing more than to die, there was no reason for me to remain on Earth. I had no purpose.” “I had become a monster.” Comments like these are frequently heard from addicts and alcoholics in recovery, referencing their bottoms, or lowest points. The things we did are by no means the people we are – though we still need to come to terms with the fact that we did the things we did and accept that we have hurt many innocents along the way.
How Do We Learn To Love Ourselves?
In order to truly begin fostering compassion for yourself, it is important that you forgive yourself for the things that you have done. You must grasp and understand the fact that you were not in your right mind, and you did not maliciously intend on hurting anyone. You have a disease – an overwhelming disease that aggressively acts to control your mind and body with the ultimate goal of ending your life. Of course, with the understanding of addiction comes the knowledge that you have the personal power to keep your disease in remission, thus you have the ability to avoid hurting anyone else in the future. The longer you stay sober, the more time wounded relationships will have to heal, and you will eventually be able to right most of your previous wrongs at some point down the line. Slowly but surely, your self-esteem will be rebuilt as you get to know the amazing and compassionate person that you surely are.
Forgiveness and Acceptance
Forgiving yourself is only half the battle. In order to thoroughly love yourself, you must also be able to accept your past and accept where you are in your life to date. Deal with old wounds and learn to be grateful for all of the hardships and trials that have made you into the strong and sober individual you are today. Begin to form relationships in which you feel nurtured and loved, and begin to practice giving the same sort of love you hope to receive. Forgiveness and acceptance are crucial components of learning to truly love yourself – once you master both, you will be on the road to adoring everything you have to offer… which is a lot.