As I prepared my educational sessions each week I noticed a trend I could not deny. No matter what subject I selected, whether it was honesty, denial, defenses or boundaries the core issue always returned to a lack of self-worth. If the clients felt a sense of self-worth, there would be no reason to be dishonest, use denial, react defensively or exercise inappropriate boundaries. My educational sessions would start with the regular subjects, but would end with tools to boost self-worth. Of course Alcohol and Drug recovery requires much more than renewed self-worth, but the addition of self-worth can prove to be a valuable asset in the war against relapse.

Ten tools to boost self-worth:

1. Discover Disabling Beliefs

We may lack self-worth because we are harboring some self-defeating beliefs about ourselves unknowingly. These beliefs could have grown from an off-the-wall comment said to us when we were young and impressionable. Unrecognized disabling beliefs can continue to affect how we experience life. They can even prevent us from experiencing peace and joy. A disabling belief I had to change about by self was that I was not worthy.

2. Change Disabling Beliefs Using Affirmations.

An affirmation is a positive statement said by us about us. Affirmations are a great way to uncover some of those old, disabling beliefs. As we start to talk positively to ourselves, those buried negative beliefs will pop into our minds. Julia Cameron in her book, THE ARTIST'S WAY, calls these blurts. She suggests writing them down to help discover where they came from, so that they can be changed into positive truths. In REAL MAGIC, Dr. Dyer suggests saying affirmations whether we believe them or not. Louise L. Hay, writes in her book, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, that looking into the mirror and saying positive things about ourselves is a powerful tool. Louise points out that someone looking us directly in the eye gave much of the negative information we received as a child. We can reverse those messages by looking ourselves in the eye and saying positive things about ourselves.

3. Change Destructive Thinking With Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy is an exercise used to recognize and stop self-defeating thinking. An event, called a trigger, will prompt thinking; the thinking can be negative and inaccurate. Negative feelings can follow the negative thinking, which can cause inappropriate behavior. Generally, negative consequences follow inappropriate behavior. Analyzing and changing the negative thinking following a trigger can prevent inappropriate behavior and the subsequent unpleasant consequences. The thinking following a trigger can be very personal negative beliefs that have nothing to do with the current situation. When they are analyzed rationally they can be changed to more realistic thinking.

4. Think Positively

Dr. Wayne Dyer writes in his book, REAL MAGIC, that our thoughts create our experiences. Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S. writes in his book, PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS that our sub-conscious operates off data input by our thoughts with no judgement of that data. The data input can be positive or negative; our servomechanism acts equally on both. Based on Drs. Maltz and Dyer theory, we would be much better off if we could give our servomechanism positive input.

5. See the Positive in Our Past

If we look back over our life, we might discover an experience that we perceived as bad then realized later its place as a valued part of the larger picture. In addition, we might discover that what we judged as some of our worst experiences have taught us our grandest lessons.

6. Forgive Ourselves

Once we see that many of our uncomfortable experiences taught us valuable lessons, we can start to accept ourselves and practice forgiveness. If we find toxic behavior, we can purge it, thank the Universe for the awareness, forgive ourselves for any perceived indiscretion, defuse any disabling beliefs and move on. Once we forgive ourselves, forgiving others becomes second nature. We start to accept that everyone is right where they need to be.

7. Take Responsibility for our Actions, Without Judgement

If we can see the value in our past experiences we can accept responsibility without judgement for our part in the drama. Taking responsibility for our own part can be very freeing. We can start to see our future experiences as opportunities to learn and grow, even the uncomfortable ones.

8. Use Emotions as a Measurement to Become More Self-Aware

When we are in a dispute, our emotions can help us become more self-aware. High emotions indicate we have an issue within us. Go within and ask, “Why am I so emotional over this issue??Understanding ourselves is an important aspect of self-worth.

9. Transmute the Fear

There are two energies in the world: love and fear. Every emotion we have is the result of one of these two energies. We can learn to break down our fear-based emotions by identifying what fear caused the emotion. Fear is more tangible than our emotions, which makes it easier for us to distinguish whether or not it has merit. To transmute my fears, I think of my fear in its worst conceivable scenario, then recognize that even the worst possibility wouldn’t be that bad.

10. Spirit

With addiction we buy into a dynamic where we literally give ourselves away to be controlled by a substance. We forget we have the power to change that dynamic and reclaim ourselves. Many times we may feel we deserve the pain being inflicted onto us. We begin to feel we are not worthy of a peaceful life. The truth is our spirit is waiting in non-judgement for our return and is available 24-7. Go within and be welcomed home.

Author's Bio: 

For information on Brenda's paperback and audiocassette tape,
if you prefer the e-book format.

After twenty-four years in the corporate environment, Brenda Ehrler was
offered the opportunity to leave and follow her heart's desire. She
wrote her non-fiction book to aid in the healing and recovery of the
friends and family members of the substance addicted. It was Brenda’s own
healing and recovery from living with a substance-addicted individual
that led her to follow her heart’s desire and reach out to others like her
with books, tapes and motivational speaking.