Content reviewed by Christian Losch, LCSW, LCADC, CEO of Pinelands

Learning to love yourself is never an easy process. This process can become even more complicated when you have battled your way through addiction and substance use. Although it can take time to grasp, self-love is essential for sustaining long-term recovery.

The beginning of recovery often involves negative self-talk and pity, even though you know you are trying your best to change these feelings and thoughts about yourself. Remaining fully committed to treatment will be a game-changer for your healing journey, especially when it comes to learning how to challenge those intrusive thoughts.

Whether you are just beginning your recovery journey or have been in recovery for a while, it is crucial that you start learning how to love yourself today. Self-love is not something to put on the back burner—it plays a vital role in all areas of your life. The sooner you find peace and comfort in who you are, the sooner you can experience long-lasting (and well deserved) joy in your recovery.

Here are ten ways to kickstart your journey to self-love:

#1. Be mindful of your thoughts in addiction recovery.

As we mentioned earlier, intrusive thoughts can be the primary thing that holds you back from experiencing self-love. It is essential that you learn how to observe your thoughts mindfully. Challenge your intrusive thoughts by not believing everything your thoughts say about you.

#2. Prioritize gratitude in your life while in recovery.

Even during the days we struggle the most with loving ourselves, being recognized or appreciated can bring a smile to our faces. Make it a priority to show gratitude to others in your life. Consider taking the time to write a note to a mentor or loved one, or call an old friend and let them know how much they have made an impact on your life. Showing gratitude to others can help make you feel more appreciative of yourself.

#3. Listen to your body.

For some people, this might mean learning how to honor your intuition. For others, it might mean letting yourself eat when you are hungry or sleeping more when you are tired. When you tune in to your body, you feel more connected with your senses and more connected to the world around you. Honor what your body is trying to tell you.

#4. Understand that all humans make mistakes.

We all experience feelings of guilt, shame or regret from time to time. Making mistakes is a part of the human experience, even when we want to believe that it isn’t. Apologize when it’s necessary, but then allow yourself to move on. Sometimes talking with an old friend about their past mistakes can make you feel less alone in your own mistakes.

#5. Let your creativity flourish while in addiction recovery.

There are so many unique ways to express your creativity nowadays. It can take time to find a hobby you enjoy doing, especially if you want to be good at it. Explore new creative pursuits such as redecorating your home, painting, constructing nature art or even writing a new song.

#6. Reach out to your recovery community.

Sometimes we forget that we have a community of people that struggle from time to time with self-love, just like we do. Take advantage of local support groups, meet-ups and sober events to help increase your social network. There are endless benefits when it comes to utilizing your recovery community.

#7. Find out what you believe in.

Recovery is incredible in many ways, with one reason being that it gives you the chance to start over in your life. When you feel disconnected from yourself or your environment, start digging deep and learning about your beliefs and passions. Once you can find meaning in your life, you will find that loving yourself becomes gradually easier.

#8. Create space in your life.

Clutter creates chaos. Do some spring cleaning throughout your life to create space for love. Cut off toxic ties with old friends, organize that junk drawer and donate those clothes you haven’t worn in years. Make space for love to find you.

#9. Practice positive affirmations.

As you learn to challenge intrusive thoughts, replace those thoughts with affirmations. Affirmations are positive “I am” statements, such as “I am beautiful.” Make it a habit to verbally affirm yourself with whatever you are looking to achieve. For example, consider repeating “I am loved.”

#10. Set personal boundaries.

Boundaries are necessary for all areas of life. They ensure that you respect yourself and your needs, especially while you are in recovery. To fully love yourself, you will need to honor your limits. Reflect on your relationships and consider setting boundaries that prioritize your recovery and mental health.

Learning to love yourself is never an easy journey. Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is a premier drug and alcohol treatment center that understands just how challenging it can be to learn how to love yourself in recovery. Let us help guide you on your journey to love yourself again. For more information about our treatment center or tips on practicing self-love, please call us today at (800) 283-1011.