Once we take the courageous step of asking for help with our substance use and begin the process of healing and recovery, we suddenly have a care team of several people involved in our lives. As a response, there may be feelings of overwhelm, which are completely normal, especially while trying to navigate a new reality with specialists, mental health professionals, and addiction counselors.
It can be difficult to keep track of or follow along with everything that is happening, so temptations might exist to be passive or quiet during the treatment plan process. Or maybe our addiction has left us disempowered in our voice, detached from our wants and needs, or feeling undeserving of things that would improve our life. But early recovery is a critical time to commit to self-advocacy and learn how to speak up for yourself.
What Does Self-Advocacy Mean?
It can mean:
Communicating your needs.
Sharing what’s working and what’s not working.
Staying informed and knowing your rights and resources.
Establishing a goal and working for change
Speaking up for yourself if someone says something that doesn’t support you.
Standing up for yourself if someone is treating you unfairly.
Making your own decisions.
How Do I Start?
First, be patient with yourself. Know that it is okay to take your time with this process. One idea is to reflect and write down wants and needs that haven’t been met. Ask yourself where you haven’t spoken up or stood up for you in your life. What do you wish you had done differently? Summon your courage to commit to self-advocacy. Connect with a resource or member of your care team and ask to set a time to talk.
Maybe explain how difficult it is to speak up, it might lessen the tension and make sharing easier. Take your time in expressing yourself, or read from your notes. Search your heart, find the words that best fit you and your emotions. Don’t let anyone rush you. Ask for a moment or speak up if you start to feel disrespected.
What Can Self- Advocacy Do?
It empowers and restores your voice, increases self-worth, and supports your future!
Learning to speak up for your needs, wants, and wishes can increase confidence and nurture self-esteem. Speaking up for yourself can heal the damage caused by periods of disempowerment, or time spent feeling meek and voiceless. You will begin to feel more powerful, capable, resilient, and connected to yourself.
Self-advocacy is a beautiful and effective form of self-care and self-love and can be seen as the ultimate way of looking out for yourself. With more self-love and self-care, you will experience more positive feelings and have a better experience in the world.
Self-advocacy can show you that you are worth it and that you are worth what you want. By speaking up for yourself, you can transform your hopes and dreams into action. You can reclaim personal power and set the course for your future. Increased self-advocacy will increase feelings of resiliency and self-sufficiency, and you will know in your heart you can manifest anything you want for your life.
Self-advocacy can lead to greater self-respect. If you respect yourself more, you are more likely to make better choices and will choose activities that support your recovery. This newfound self-respect can reduce the chances of relapse and can empower you to find healthy solutions or outlets if you feel triggered or upset.
Remember that especially in recovery, outside people (often with good intentions) might think they know what’s best for you, and what they believe needs to be done. They might try to make decisions on your behalf without checking in with you beforehand.
But by letting these people or other members of your care team know how you are doing, what tools and resources help you, what you want for yourself, and what you want to try, you can create a much more positive and rewarding recovery process. It is also your right to be involved in your treatment plan, and you deserve to know what is happening.
Feeling seen, heard, and understood by family, friends, or your care team can do wonders for your heart, mind, and spirit. While it can be the most vulnerable and most challenging time in your life, by taking steps in the direction of self-advocacy in early recovery, you can revolutionize your healing journey.
Those who don’t understand addiction can sometimes devalue or pass judgment on those who are in recovery. People can project their own pain onto others because of unrecognized feelings of insecurity, shame, or personal history of addiction. By speaking up, you are protecting yourself, putting an end to abusive behavior, and are stopping damaging patterns and narratives.
Are you tired of feeling voiceless and powerless?
Are you wanting to explore self-advocacy, and find out what it means to you?
Are you ready to speak up for you?
If you are seeking support for substance use and are wanting to find empowering and healthy ways to speak up and stand up for yourself, contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment. We understand how hard it can be to figure out what your needs are, and what you truly want out of life. That is why we offer holistic, comprehensive, and therapeutic support options, so that you can discover what is right for you. We will be by your side every step of the way and will custom create a care plan that prioritizes your needs and interests. You deserve to feel confident yourself and strong in your ability for self-advocacy. Take that brave first step, and call to speak with one of our compassionate staff members about options at 800-799-4673. We are here to hear you.