How Young Men Can Build Self-Esteem Following Alcohol Rehab

May 15, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Young men often struggle with self-esteem. This is particularly true for young men who have gone through alcohol rehab and may not fit the usual societal mold. Fortunately, self-esteem can be built and young men can regain confidence after completing treatment for alcohol addiction. When they do improve their self-esteem, they can better accept themselves and the journey they are on. This helps them to be successful in their recovery from addiction as well as in whatever they choose to pursue in the future.

Alcohol Rehab and Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how a person values and sees themselves. It is the amount of respect an individual holds for themselves and their internal sense of worth. According to the Journal of the National Medical Association, self-esteem includes self-image, self-identity, self-meaning, and self-concepts. Therefore, while self-esteem is a complex topic, it is the combination of how people define themselves, view themselves, and understand their place in the world.

Following alcohol rehab, young men will face many changes, including how they identify and see themselves in the world. It is common for young men to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment regarding alcohol rehab. This can lead to low self-esteem. Additionally, young men may experience many shifts in their lives through rehab and after. While many of these changes are positive, the changes can impact self-esteem in terms of self-identity, self-concepts, and self-meaning.

How to Rebuild Self-Esteem After Alcohol Rehab

Low self-esteem is normal for young men after alcohol rehab. The good news is, they can build their self-esteem by practicing awareness and self-compassion.


When it comes to making changes, awareness is often the first step. Becoming aware of self-esteem issues may involve learning to identify thought patterns and feelings. For young men after alcohol rehab, this might include thoughts about their worth or identity. It also may mean assessing how those thoughts and feelings present themselves in relation to their rehab experience. Additionally, becoming aware of self-esteem involves understanding how certain individuals or situations impact self-esteem. For example, spending time with a certain person or doing a specific activity may increase or decrease a person’s self-esteem.

Improved awareness helps to improve self-esteem because it provides an opportunity to question thoughts and beliefs that play a role in self-esteem. For example, if a common thought pattern is that alcohol addiction makes a person feel like they have failed, being aware of the thought is important. When a young man realizes that this is a thought and belief rather than reality, he can begin to question them. This might include speaking to a friend or thinking about how environment and genetics play a role in addiction. Therefore, awareness can help young men realize that alcohol addiction is not a sign of failure and that they can be confident in themselves.


Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is a big and important first step. However, the journey continues after alcohol rehab. For young men who experience low self-esteem after treatment, self-compassion is important. Self-compassion is when an individual has empathy for themselves. For young men just out of alcohol rehab, it may include having compassion for their past or current challenges.

Self-compassion is essential when rebuilding self-esteem and confidence. When an individual has self-compassion, they allow themselves to make mistakes. This helps them to feel like their past mistakes are not the sole measure of who they are and their value. Their mistakes are part of their past, but they do not define their future. Therefore, they can start to see themselves as someone who can change. However, without self-compassion, negative thoughts about themselves can lead to decreased self-esteem and often relapse.

Value of Building Self-Esteem After Alcohol Rehab

After young men complete alcohol rehab, they must integrate back into their lives. To stay sober and have a successful recovery, young men need to make changes in their lives that support their sobriety and mental health. However, making changes requires the self-esteem to believe that they are worthy of and able to make these changes. Therefore, self-esteem is incredibly valuable to build as a tool that helps young men stay sober.

Additionally, research published in Addiction & Health showed that there is a strong connection between self-esteem and addiction. Low self-esteem is closely connected to alcohol consumption, drug use, and crimes like theft. When an individual is experiencing low self-esteem, it makes them doubt that they can live a different life and that they deserve that. This belief is often perpetuated by other individuals they spend time with and society itself which often holds stigmas regarding addiction.

Fortunately, this connection also means that improving self-esteem can have the benefit of decreasing the likelihood of drug and alcohol use in the future. When young men build self-esteem both during and after treatment, they are protecting themselves from relapse. One step at a time, young men can learn to make changes in their lives and believe in their ability to continue to do so.

Young men often struggle with their self-esteem. Societal pressures and stigma can seem impossible to overcome, especially when one does not fit the expected mold that society expects men to fit into. Fortunately, young men can rebuild their self-esteem, learn to love themselves, and make changes that support their mental health and recovery. At Buena Vista, we can help young men during this difficult time. Our programs help young men build awareness and self-compassion, building a foundation of skills the help them to continue to grow after rehab. To learn more about our programs and how we help young men build better self-esteem, call (480) 741-9414 to speak with a staff member today.