Self-love therapy is an important part of clinical treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol. It teaches patients how to improve their lives and put themselves in a positive state so they can avoid temptation.
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The Importance of Self-Love Therapy
Self-love therapy is a key component of learning how to live a life of value as we become aware of our self-worth and emotional wellbeing. Self-love can be defined as any positive feeling we have toward ourselves, such as compassion for ourselves, the way we treat ourselves, as well as the support we have for ourselves. Common examples of what self-love therapy teaches include:
- Loving one’s self despite one’s flaws
- Not feeling guilty when saying no
- Being comfortable with one’s shortcoming
- Valuing one’s health and well being
- Valuing one’s personal relationships
- Maintaining self-care routines
Self-love therapy focuses on notions of acceptance, comfortability, and respect for the self and is a powerful healing method, encouraging positive self-esteem. In addition to self-love, other traits such as self-compassion and self-respect go hand-in-hand to enhance our sense of self.
How Is Self-Love Different Than Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem and self-love are connected; however, they are uniquely different. Self-love focuses on notions of acceptance, comfortability, and respect for the self. Self-esteem refers to ways people perceive themselves, estimate their capacity, and estimate their value. People with higher self-esteem report more confidence, happier moods, and less drug and alcohol use. Those with low self-esteem may be too hard on themselves, fail to take action as they lack self-confidence, devalue their uniqueness, and struggle with creating boundaries.
The Relationship Between Self-Love, Self-Esteem, and Substance Abuse
Studies revealed young girls who have higher self-esteem report a higher likelihood to abuse drugs in the future. Similar studies also reveal some young men with lower self-esteem are more likely to consume alcohol. Suffers of substance abuse may feel they are not appreciated, valued, or unique and don’t see any risk involved with consuming drugs or alcohol. Others may have turn to alcohol to help them develop temporary confidence, slowly using it to replace inferiority complexes and constant feelings of low self-esteem.
Traumatic experiences may induce feelings of unworthiness and decrease feelings of self-love. A lack of self-love can manifest in anxiety disorders and phobias which may later be thought to be soothed by drugs or alcohol. Alternately, the feelings of low self-worth can contribute to poor self-image which can later manifest in poor decision-making ability and unhealthy behavioral patterns.
Self-Love And Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-occurring disorders can be any other mental health disorder someone has along with an addiction. Some co-occurring disorders can worsen addiction and applying self-love can neutralize feelings associated with some co-occurring disorders. For example, patients in recovery who have low self-esteem may find applying self-love therapy allows them to value themselves in deeper ways.
People who struggle with depression, anxiety, and addiction may ruminate over past regrets, struggling to accept their decisions and garner self-trust to feel satisfied. People who struggle with feelings of inadequacy, practice self-harm, or have low self-worth can heal with self-love therapy. They can own all of their strengths and weaknesses, removing guilt and shame often at the root of many addictions. Including self-love therapy in a comprehensive treatment plan in easy day increases feelings of happiness.
Self-love can be honored daily and manifested by our psychological and behavioral practices. Self-love therapy teaches us to accept one’s self. Becoming more tolerant of your shortcomings, strengths, and perceived weaknesses is powerful. Nobody has power over how people perceive themselves, as self-love can discourage toxic behaviors or relationships.
Self-honesty, self-compassion, and self-forgiveness can be the catalyst for healthy self-love. Understanding we all make mistakes and accepting past perceived disappointments and setbacks as part of our growth encourages self-awareness and personal responsibility for ourselves. Self-compassion reduces feelings of perfection some may strive for, which can deepen feelings of anxiety.
Self-Love Therapy and Addiction Treatment
For those suffering from depression, anxiety, shame, and guilt in addition to an addiction, there is guidance available. Self-love therapy practices heal sufferers of addiction from the inside out, focusing on core issues leading to addiction.
People in recovery can speak with therapists to uncover underlying trauma leading to substance abuse. When necessary, they are treated for addictions and co-occurring disorders to heal the mind and emotional body. Other forms of self-love-based therapies include:
- Reflective writing/ journaling
- Music and art therapy
- Self-acceptance training
- Mindful meditation
- Goal setting
- Boundary setting
- Trust-building exercises
- Commitment therapy
- Living a life of purpose
- Living a life of passion
Finding Help As An Act of Self-Love
We all deserve to life a life of peace, love, and progress. If you or a loved one wishes to overcome the darkness of substance abuse, treatment professionals are available to guide you on your journey. Honor your right to live a life of freedom, and start your recovery journey today by contacting a treatment expert now.
Last Edited: April 17, 2018
- About the author
Goodtherapy.org. (2017). Self-Love. Retrieved on March 13, 2018 at https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/self-love
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. (2011). The Role of Self-Esteem in Tendency Towards Drugs, theft and Prostitution. Retrieved on March 13, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905528/
Wilson, Kelly. G. (2010). Acceptance and the Road Back from Depression: Appreciating Days Soent Sitting On My Hands. Retrieved on March 13, 2018 at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-one-life/201009/acceptance-and-the-road-back-depression-appreciating-days-spent-sitting