Tag Archive: self identity

  1. Self Identity and What It Means for Teen Recovery

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    Addiction counselors and therapists have long recognized the connection between self-esteem and substance abuse. Individuals with lower levels of self-esteem are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to bury self-esteem problems or to give them a temporary boost from the low self-opinions that they have developed. Low self-esteem is a particularly insidious problem for teen and adolescent drug addicts and alcoholics, whose struggles with their own identities and their respective places in society can overwhelm even the strongest of personalities. Teens who are in a drug recovery program can assure the success of that program if they can develop a strong and healthy sense of themselves as they move toward long-term sobriety.

    “Self Identity”
    A teen or adolescent who has developed a low sense of self-esteem will see himself as being unliked and without friends, having little worth or value, and being the object of ridicule and bullying from peers and classmates who have a greater sense of self-assurance. These feelings form an identity of worthlessness, which leads a teen to seek solace in drugs or alcohol. A teen or adolescent who goes through a substance abuse recovery program without addressing these feelings will be prone to relapses and deeper problems with drugs and alcohol. That teen will also be more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.

    “Drug Treatment Program”
    Alternately, a teen who goes into a drug treatment program with an already weak self-identity might adopt the label of being an alcoholic or addict as the strongest marker of his identity. He might look back on his experiences while he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and decide, either consciously or subconsciously, that he preferred the personality that he exhibited during those times. A person naturally forms the foundation of his identity during his teen years. Adopting the “addict” moniker during these years can lead to lifelong drug and alcohol problems. Counselors and therapists as well as family members and friends need to take great care not to reinforce the “addict” label when dealing with teens and adolescents because of the risk of imprinting that label as the person’s primary self-identity marker.

    “Drug Addiction”
    A teen who is struggling to overcome drug addiction or alcoholism can develop a positive self-identity by making sure that all of his or her issues, and not just substance abuse, are addressed and treated during recovery. Positive affirmations from family and friends and a supportive environment are also crucial to allow a teen to develop a healthy platform to build and sustain his self-worth. This may require relocating a teen to a new school or neighborhood, and helping him to develop new hobbies and activities that better suit his natural talents. Family members may need to learn new ways to communicate in order to replace old and possibly hurtful interactions that had tendencies to reduce a teen’s self esteem.

    From a more positive perspective, a teen’s family can be the best resource he has to build or rebuild a positive self-identity. His family will know his talents and skills better than friends or counselors and they can channel that knowledge into activities that help a teen realize his own self-worth. All parents will understand that raising and nurturing a teen is a challenge even without having to help the teen with his self-identity or to keep him on track in an addiction recovery program. Families might find that the added challenge of helping a teen to gain his own positive self-identity will make all of the other challenges they face that much easier and more manageable.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California works with adolescents and young adults who are striving to develop a strong and positive self-identity while working to overcome drug addiction and alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our individual and family services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  2. Who Am I? Rediscovering Identity In Recovery

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    Who Am I? Rediscovering Identity In RecoveryIn a nutshell, self-concept comes down to how each of us sees our own world. A person’s self-concept encompasses their whole belief system. From this foundation comes our ideas, our thoughts, our behaviors, and ultimately, our destinies. It’s no surprise, therefore, that teenagers are naturally curious about drugs and alcohol. In a confusing, often scary transitional time, drugs offer some momentary security: You can always depend on them to make you feel a certain way.


    Seeking Self-Concept Through Drugs

    The self-identifying allure of drugs and alcohol isn’t easily refuted. Sometimes teens just don’t want to stop, because they see no problem with it. Others want to quit but are just too scared, ashamed, or uninformed about how to do it the right way. One thing is for certain: Substance abuse doesn’t have to be a part of anyone’s persona, no matter how normal it feels. It can be easy to forget that, for someone who has used substances regularly for many years (especially when it comes to alcohol). Just because someone says they feel happy doesn’t mean that the happiness is real or sustained. If they need drugs or alcohol to feel that happiness, that’s a problem.


    Helping Another Find Their Self-Concept

    Many young people have to hit “rock bottom” before they can realize this, but it doesn’t always take a car wreck or an overdose to convince the person that he or she needs treatment (which is good, because such incidents often have legal consequences that can follow you around and haunt you for the rest of your life.) Family and friends can help make treatment happen early. You can’t make someone admit their problem or seek help, but you can help motivate them to your best of your ability.


    Embracing a New Self

    Addiction treatment programs like AA are often stigmatized as being cult-like foundations that teach their subjects to trade one addiction (drugs/alcohol) for another (total sobriety). Nothing could be further from the truth. While the notion of total abstinence may seem extreme, as can the measures taken to sustain it, sobriety makes way for a new, clean slate — new behaviors, new outlooks. Taking steps to join recovery programs and groups is a surefire way to maintain the motivation to stay clean and the desire to help others do so as well.  Along the way, you’ll discover a brand new self–the real you– that was often hidden beneath the substances.


    A new beginning is always possible, and it starts by rebuilding self-concept in treatment. Throughout the course of rehab and aftercare, adolescents begin to see themselves as valuable, capable people. To get you or someone you love started, call Sustain today: 949-637-5499

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.