Individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) may struggle with feelings of guilt, regret, and shame. Low self-esteem also contributes to some mental health side effects of SUD. Self-compassion helps people come to terms with their condition while avoiding negativity. Health Psychology Open states, “Growing evidence indicates that self-compassion is also associated with several key health-related outcomes, including lower perceived stress, attenuated physiological responses to stress, the practice of health-promoting behaviors, and better physical health.” West Coast Recovery Centers promotes the power of self-compassion using evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies.
What Is the Power of Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion involves being kind to oneself and practicing grace when looking at one’s choices, behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs. It also means being mindful of difficult and painful emotions without self-judgment. Psychology Research and Behavior Management states, “Self-kindness refers to an attitude of benevolence towards oneself, rather than self-criticism and self-judgment.” In addition, “Mindfulness involves being aware of one’s inner experiences from an open, accepting and non-judgmental perspective rather than being fused or over-identified with thoughts and emotions.”
People practice self-compassion during treatment and long-term recovery by doing the following:
- Prioritizing self-care
- Developing soothing routines (e.g., meditation, sleep routines, low-stress activities, etc.)
- Improving physical health by eating nutritional meals, staying hydrated, and getting quality sleep
- Engaging with their support system
Finding small ways to be kind to oneself every day makes self-compassion easier to maintain during difficult moments in recovery. Some people struggle with shame or guilt related to their substance abuse. Therapy often helps people find ways to feel worthy of self-compassion. Clinicians guide clients through utilizing self-care in their daily lives.
Self-Forgiveness and Personal Growth
Recovering from substance abuse is a process. People in treatment learn essential skills and go through periods of personal growth while developing healthier routines. Social support during early recovery helps people feel more comfortable practicing self-forgiveness and managing the effects of SUD. According to Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, “[S]upportive relationships with caring family, partners, and friends—including individuals who do not use substances themselves—have proven to be helpful in abstaining and maintaining sobriety.” People may find it easier to question maladaptive thoughts and beliefs about themselves if they have the support of friends and family.
Some ways clients in treatment practice self-forgiveness and personal growth include:
- Taking responsibility for past actions without judgment or shame
- Actively participating in treatment
- Making amends or taking steps to repair damage caused by unhealthy choices
- Actively working on building new behaviors and personal growth
Accepting the situation and finding ways to move forward allows people in recovery to heal from the effects of substance abuse. Forgiving past mistakes and taking steps to avoid them in the future prepares clients for long-term recovery. Self-forgiveness and self-compassion foster healthier behaviors and stop people from focusing entirely on the negative aspects of SUD. Personal growth is a side effect of self-forgiveness.
How Does the Power of Self-Compassion Help People Grow?
Personal growth is only possible when people choose to learn from their experiences and the experiences of others. Treatment services, including individual and group therapy, increase self-awareness and guide people through recognizing their need for change and growth. West Coast Recovery Centers uses evidence-based and alternative holistic treatments to help clients achieve personal development.
The power of self-compassion helps people heal and grow by doing the following:
- Reducing internal pressure to meet unrealistic recovery goals
- Providing relief from overwhelming shame, guilt, or other negative emotions
- Encouraging positive lifestyle changes
Self-compassion gives people in recovery permission to move forward while accepting their current circumstances.
Overcoming Shame, Regret, and Denial
According to PLoS One, “Negative self-conscious emotions, including shame and guilt, result from appraisal of how an experience pertains to the self in relation to others.” Each emotion has distinct causes and effects on mental health. “Shame is often conceptualized as a negative evaluation of oneself (e.g., ‘I am less valuable than others’) while guilt is often conceptualized as a negative evaluation of one’s behavior (e.g., ‘I have behaved poorly compared to others’).”
Overcoming shame, regret, denial, and other disruptive thoughts and feelings may increase the effectiveness of treatment by making it easier for people to focus on healing. Instead of remaining stuck in the past, letting go of these emotions allows people to move on and find more positive things to focus on. Self-compassion can help people think more positively.
How Does West Coast Recovery Centers Support the Power of Self-Compassion?
Everyone deserves to heal and feel good about themselves and their progress in recovery. The dedicated care team at West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to practice self-compassion, grace, and self-forgiveness. Clinicians provide clients with the skills to build healthier patterns of thoughts and behaviors through self-compassion and personal growth.
Compassion, empathy, and kindness can inspire sobriety and motivate lifelong healthy changes for many people in recovery. Clinicians model healthy behaviors and guide clients through the process of learning how to be kind to themselves after years of self-doubt, guilt, and shame.
People with substance use disorder often struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, regret, or other negative emotions. Practicing self-compassion allows people to accept their past choices without judgment and move forward in their healing journey. Self-forgiveness is an important part of recovery for many people in treatment. Being willing to focus on positive aspects of recovery reduces stress and helps people overcome internalized stigmas related to substance abuse and recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to practice self-compassion and empathy. Peer support, evidence-based therapies, and other forms of treatment help people find ways to forgive themselves for past actions. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (760) 492-6509.