Low self-esteem is the number one causative factor that the vast majority of drug and alcohol addicts share in common. By definition, those possessing low self-esteem are typically challenged in four key areas.
- They feel that they lack personal power and so their ability to influence others is compromised.
- Many with low self-esteem feel as though they are insignificant to others, lacking the affection and attention of others who hold them in low regard.
- Low self-esteem results when people feel that they lack virtue. In other words, they are plagued by an inherent nagging sense of not being a good person morally or ethically. They often feel unloved, unappreciated, and unwanted and so they conclude that they must not be good enough to be worthy of such love and appreciation.
- Those possessing low self-esteem often hold themselves as incompetent in one or more areas of life. They fear they are unable to maintain control of their lives and as a result, they are easily dominated by others who they perceive as being more powerful and capable than they are. This anger often results in ineffective communication and social conflicts which further lead to diminished self-esteem.
The Importance of Self-esteem in the Treatment of Drug, Alcohol, and Other Addictions
By Dr. Joe Rubino, Creator of SelfEsteemSystem.com
This perceived incompetence can be manifested as low self-esteem in the areas of their health or appearance. They hold themselves as too fat, thin, tall, short, ugly, stupid, socially inept, unlovable, fatally flawed or deficient in any one of a multitude of other areas. Or, perhaps, they suffer from a health challenge that can be a physical problem, mental health issue, or the resignation and death of their spirit that results from lacking self-love.
Low self-esteem can also manifest as a result of one’s inability to generate wealth, and a life of abundance or even one that provides for the necessities. They see themselves struggling to survive in a world marked by competition and scarcity. They have accumulated plenty of evidence to reinforce their belief in their inability to compete for what they see as scarce resources, and as they compete unsuccessfully for these resources, their self-esteem plummets further as a result.
Another area of life that those with low self-esteem often struggle is with their occupation. Perhaps they may lack education, information, skill sets, or the belief in their ability to obtain a good job and so they self-sabotage and then get to be right about “the fact” that no one wants to hire them. Seeking continuing education is hopeless to those who have such low self-esteem since they see themselves as incapable of excelling in the process of studying, taking exams, passing in homework assignments, and achieving success in the educational system.
Those with low self-esteem also typically suffer from problematic family and other relationships. Many came from abusive or dysfunctional families and had decided that they are incapable of creating rich, nurturing, and rewarding relationships. Because those possessing low self-esteem are all too often driven by their destructive emotional moods of anger, sadness, or fear, they continually damage their relationships, and so they get to be right about their beliefs that people cause pain and so it is safer to avoid relationships than to risk them with disastrous results. Many avoid responsibility for their part in sabotaging their family and other relationships as it is easier to blame others than accept responsibility for their role in what they are manifesting in their own lives.
Also, those with low self-esteem are often not in touch with their gifts. Because they are often in survival mode or in such poor physical, mental, or emotional health, they lose touch with any hobbies or the pursuit of any passions they once had. They stop recreating in healthy ways. Their social circles typically include others who share their addictions and suffer from low self-esteem as well. And so, the downward spiral worsens, and their expectation of struggle, suffering, and hardship becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Lastly, it is all too common for those with low self-esteem to be bankrupt spiritually. Many feel that God has abandoned them and so they justify their lacking faith in a benevolent God who has imparted the blessings of magnificence to all people. They instead often see God as punishing and unforgiving. Likewise, those with low self-esteem have little interest in personal development. They long ago have traded in the idea that they can be, do, and have whatever they want in life but for the assumption of victimhood. They often hold their plight as the fault of their family, friends, society, the economy, or some other external force, further reinforcing their role as a poor victim.
It is no wonder that those with low self-esteem often resort to addictive behaviors to numb out the pain and escape to a world that allows them a temporary release from their suffering and problems. Alcoholism and drug dependency enable those with low self-esteem to cover up their pain, at least for a while. The problem lies in the fact that such addictions render these drug and alcohol addicts incapable of overcoming the challenges that originally caused them to seek refuge in their addictions. The worse the addiction, the more they become incapable of elevating their self esteem by creating increased personal power, significance, virtuosity, or competence. As they sabotage one area of life, the other areas always suffer as well. Pretty soon, those who possessed low self esteem to begin with, now discover their lives spiraling out of their control. For many, homelessness, dependence on charity, turning to crime, prostitution, or further dependence on drugs or alcohol is seen as inevitable.
At The Center for Personal Reinvention, we have found that a strategic approach to support those suffering from drug or alcohol dependency must involve as an essential part of any successful treatment, the acquisition of the tools needed to liberate the sufferers of the roots of their low self esteem. We believe that anyone willing to turn their life around and become free of addictive behaviors can best do so by engaging in the process of personal development with an expectation that they can both free themselves from the devastation of their addictions and be a contribution to others less fortunate than they are. Our three-part approach involves healing and completing one’s past, doing a thorough assessment of one’s present situation, and finally designing an inspirational future that is free of addictive behaviors and reflects their magnificence as a contribution to others.