The Value of Self-Empathy While in Substance Use Treatment and Recovery

The Value of Self-Empathy While in Substance Use Treatment and Recovery

Everyone needs to practice self-compassion—but unfortunately, many people struggle to do it in their daily lives. University of Sheffield researchers discovered that self-compassion is quite challenging for people to practice in times of difficulty due to their negative views regarding self-compression and even themselves. This gets harder for people with perfectionist concerns because they are less likely to extend compassion to themselves whenever they experience lapses in their lives.

As such, it’s understandable that people undergoing substance use treatment and recovery would struggle with being kind to themselves. However, self-compassion is a key component to total recovery because of the following benefits:

Self-compassion can reduce cravings for substances

Self-compassion may seem like a simple practice with no profound effects for people struggling with substance use. However, extending a bit of love and kindness to yourself can actually help you stop craving alcohol and drugs.

A study conducted by Mansoura University and Mohammed Al-Mana College for Medical Science researchers revealed that self-judgment could increase your cravings for substances, while self-compassion can combat these cravings. The study highlights that people practicing self-compassion can better deal with pain through empathy, awareness, tolerance, and forgiveness. As a result, you will find that you’re less likely to depend on substances.

Compassion can free you from any guilt and shame

Shame is one emotion that many people struggle with during substance use treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, this very emotion can prevent people from seeking treatment for their substance use.

Shame can be worse for women with substance use disorder. Kaitlin Pilipovic explains that this is due to unrealistic expectations set on women. Pilipovic points out that women are expected to excel in their careers, keep house, and care for various family members without breaking a sweat, so spending time in treatment can seem like a failure on their part. Practicing self-compassion can help you break free from this shame because it will help you realize that you are just as worthy as your loved ones in getting the right amount of love and support.

Your motivation to find the right kind of help will increase

A big part of moving forward from your past is getting the support you need for recovery. By becoming more understanding of yourself, you will be more motivated to seek the right type of treatment that you need.

In fact, your compassion for yourself will even push you to address the root issue of your substance use with a qualified clinical psychologist. An explainer on mental health counseling by Maryville University explains that licensed professionals can develop treatment plans, identify proper resources, and offer emotional support for your journey through counseling services. Professionals like clinical psychologists and licensed social workers can assist you in carrying out treatment plans and in seeking better treatment methods during counseling sessions so that you can slowly but surely work towards your complete recovery.

Positive self-talk can help you recover faster

Aside from helping you get proper help, self-compassion can also aid in your recovery from substance abuse. In fact, something such as writing or speaking positive affirmations can help you get on track with recovery.

Verywell Mind cited that self-affirmations work even for people with low self-esteem because they can improve your attitude towards advice regarding health risks. Self-affirmations can be even more useful during recovery from substance or alcohol use disorders because you will feel more proud about your efforts and progress. Even though the positive affirmations may not seem genuine at first, reciting them over time can help you view yourself in a more positive way.

Practicing self-compassion can motivate you to seek help and work toward complete recovery. By practicing positive affirmations and self-love, you can move forward toward a brighter future.

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