When you hit rock bottom in addiction, chances are you\u2019ve lost every shred of self-respect you ever had. And not only that, no one else has much, if any, respect for you either. Frankly, when you\u2019ve bottomed out, you\u2019re probably not thinking about your self-respect. You're primarily interested in survival \u2013 and getting out of your addictive quandary. After you complete treatment for addiction, however, you\u2019ve got a lot of work still to do. There\u2019s the whole recovery plan that you need to implement, and practicing how to live clean and sober. Part of the new you will undoubtedly involve rebuilding your self-respect. Here are some tips on how you can win that back, for yourself as well as the respect of others. 1. Give respect to earn it. \u2013 The Christian saying, \u201cDo unto others as you would have them do unto you,\u201d could be modified to \u201cGive respect to others if you would have them give respect to you.\u201d Before you can expect to receive others\u2019 respect, you must be worthy of respect. One way to begin this process of rebuilding your self-respect is to be respectful of others. It isn\u2019t just your elders that you should respect \u2013 although many in the younger generation seem to have lost or never learned this lesson. Respect your parents, your spouse or partner, your children, boss and coworkers, and friends. Respect the cashier at the grocery store, the clerk at the gas station, the mailman, the FedEx driver, even passersby on the street or in the mall. This isn\u2019t being a Pollyanna or goodie-two-shoes. It\u2019s simply recognizing other people as human beings and according them the acknowledgement they\u2019re due. In short, you offer them respect. How do you give respect? It can be as simple as allowing someone to pass in front of you with a wave of the hand and a smile. You may hold the door for another person, allowing them to enter a building first. Listen, instead of interrupting, when someone speaks to you. Say thank you for any type of assistance you get \u2013 even if it is less than what you wanted or expected. Even if you disagree with the conclusions or statements of someone in charge \u2013 say, your boss or supervisor \u2013 afford that individual the respect their position deserves and moderate your responses accordingly. Sometimes it\u2019s difficult to be respectful, especially when others treat us with disrespect. In this case, you can kill them with kindness or, to use another Christian phrase, \u201cTurn the other cheek.\u201d No, you\u2019re not asking to be a doormat. You\u2019re deflecting negativity and turning it off with your own positive energy. 2. Start at home. \u2013 In early recovery, you\u2019ll probably spend much of your time in the safety and security of your own home. This is a normal stage of getting used to being in your normal environment and that, in itself, takes some getting used to. But while you are at home, begin your process of winning back your self-respect by being respectful, kind, and considerate with your family members. After all, they\u2019re the ones who know you the best. In the best-case scenario, they\u2019ve been by your side throughout your addiction and treatment and are still supporting and encouraging you in recovery. In the worst-case scenario, your family members haven\u2019t done much to support your healing. Maybe they didn\u2019t participate in family therapy or they have their own addictions. Are you destined to fail because of that? While it\u2019s true that family support is a linchpin of an effective recovery, not everyone has a supportive family. Do the best you can, even to the extent that you find yourself a new support network elsewhere. Other ways to help win back your self-respect is to practice doing what you\u2019ve listed in your recovery plan. When you make a schedule for your daily activities, stick to it. Living according to a routine that you\u2019ve set for yourself is an easy and painless way to mark accomplishments. Check completed tasks off your list. Give yourself credit for doing things ahead of time, better than expected, or when you\u2019ve been able to tackle a challenging issue successfully. All of these can help you feel more at ease with your judgment and give you more confidence \u2013 which leads to increased self-respect. 3. Network with 12-Step Group Members. \u2013 Who knows better what it feels like to come back from no self-respect than someone who\u2019s been in the same situation? Whether you received formal addiction treatment at a residential facility or got it as an outpatient or through private counseling \u2013 or even used self-readings and self-education to help overcome your addiction \u2013 you know or have been part of 12-step group meetings. These fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or any of the many 12-step groups that have been formed and operate on philosophy similar to that of A.A., are comprised of others just like you who have made a commitment to living clean and sober, and to helping others pursue the same goal. They are non-judgmental and anonymous. You don\u2019t pay any fees or dues, and there are no other restrictions to participating other than the commitment to living life sober. When you go to these meetings, the typical format is a sharing of personal stories (again, on an anonymous basis), recognition of members who have reached certain milestones \u2013 30-, 60-, 90-day, and one-year sobriety achievement \u2013 and support and encouragement on a one-on-one basis. Often, newcomers to group meetings feel a little lost and confused, and the members with more longevity strive to help them feel more comfortable with the process and welcome them. Friendships may develop, but you don\u2019t need to be friends with other 12-step group members to get valuable assistance from your participation in the meetings. In fact, you\u2019ll learn something every time you go to a meeting \u2013 even if you don\u2019t particular like the speaker. How can this be? In the words of some long-time members, it\u2019s not the person - it\u2019s the addiction recovery process. Many 12-step groups will offer workshops or have lectures or other activities where certain topics are discussed. How to win back your self-respect and that of others may very well be one of those topics. If not, you can bring it up in discussion with a member with whom you\u2019ve shared some conversation \u2013 and, hopefully, one who\u2019s been in successful recovery for some time. The longer you are in recovery, the stronger, more self-confident, and more self-assured you will be. You will earn back your self-respect, and you will receive it from others as well. 4. Do what you can, but don\u2019t over commit. \u2013 If you attempt to take on too much, you are bound to be disappointed that you either can\u2019t fulfill your commitments or your productivity and quality suffer. This is true at work, at home, in social and other situations. If you\u2019re not doing the job, what you said you\u2019d do, or what you feel you should be doing to the best of your ability, it may be that you\u2019re not ready to take on the level or number of commitments, or you\u2019re subconsciously trying to rush back into a stressful and challenging situation. Try to avoid promising too much. Don\u2019t be the first one to ask for the tough assignments \u2013 at least, not in the first year of your recovery. Don\u2019t stick around the office until late at night, bring home work, refuse to take vacations, as a means of getting back up to speed, trying to prove yourself to your boss, or make up for lost time. This will just serve to get you more frazzled, depressed, frustrated, and anxious. To make matters worse, others will notice. The cycle will repeat, and pretty soon, you may find your coping skills aren\u2019t enough to overcome the cravings and urges that may surface. This is not to suggest that you skirt your responsibilities - far from it. Recovery experts do recommend, however, that those in the early weeks and months of recovery tend to the basics: take care of your own needs first (nutrition, adequate rest and exercise), go to meetings and therapy, and spend time with your family. Limit your outside activities to those you can comfortably and reasonably manage, and don\u2019t make any major life changes. \tYou may find it helpful to make a daily schedule for all your work-related assignments and activities. This is similar to and often part of your daily schedule for recovery. Mark down the hours that you\u2019ll be at work or working. \tNote any special projects, tasks, meetings, or assignments that are absolutely critical that you attend to. \tAnything that\u2019s not mandatory, or that you\u2019ve already committed to, leave out. \tIf you need more time to complete an assignment, or find that you\u2019re overextended and need to be excused from a meeting or ask for help, talk with your supervisor right away. Another benefit of being mindful of your commitments so that you don\u2019t overextend yourself is that others will recognize that you\u2019re being responsible, diligent, resourceful, and a team player. They are more likely to give you more respect as a result \u2013 and this will also increase your own self-respect. 5. Live up to your word. \u2013 Loss of self-respect comes when we fail to live up to our word or when our words are regarded as useless because we have proven ourselves to be untrustworthy. In order to win back your self-respect and that of others, make it a practice to only say what you mean \u2013 and live up to your word. This is a little tricky to navigate, especially when you\u2019ve been in the habit of fudging the truth, telling others what you think they want to hear, or engaging in self-deception about your true motives or intentions. Try this for starters. When you feel like you\u2019re about to say something, to make a promise or commitment to another: stop. Literally, stop yourself from talking. Before you allow the words to come out of your mouth, think about what it is that you are going to say. If you honestly feel that this is something that you will complete as promised, or that it is a reflection of genuine feeling (instead of flattery or an attempt to get on someone\u2019s good side), then go ahead and say it. If, on the other hand, you recognize that your old need to use others to get what you want is trying to resurface, or what you\u2019re about to say is without noble purpose, don\u2019t say it. If you need to, excuse yourself, and go on to do something else. 6. Make your words mean something. \u2013 Another point about conversation is that people will respect your words if what you have to say means something. This isn\u2019t about making a commitment. In this case, it\u2019s all about talking about things that others consider worthwhile. In other words, if you can make a contribution to a conversation with an observation or point of interest or fact, others will recognize it as such. Depending on how, when, and where you deliver the comment \u2013 and these are other strategies to improving conversational skills that you should try to develop \u2013 others may begin to look at you in a new light. Of course, don\u2019t obsess over what, when, and where you engage in casual conversation, especially with long-time friends. Don\u2019t attempt to over-analyze or engage in endless self-scrutiny before you say \u201cGood morning\u201d to your family, friends, coworkers, or passersby. Be aware that words have powerful impact. Choose your words wisely. Speak them in a welcoming and heartfelt manner. Others will react accordingly. Even if someone brusquely passes you by without an acknowledgement, you will have extended yourself and brought positive energy forth. Open yourself up to receive good things and you will send creative energy out in return. Feeling good about yourself helps build your self-respect. Others can\u2019t help but notice, and likely will begin to give you the respect that you increasingly deserve. 7. If you slip, learn something from it and move on. \u2013 What happens if you slip and have a relapse? Will your hard-won self-respect be lost forever? This is the fear of many in early recovery, when relapse is all too common. Addiction recovery experts, along with a great many old-timers who have been in successful recovery for years, say that a slip is often an opportunity in disguise. It doesn\u2019t mean you are doomed to fall back into your old addictive behaviors. If, in having your slip, you\u2019ve learned something \u2013 such as, if it\u2019s slippery, don\u2019t go to slippery places \u2013 then you\u2019ve received a valuable lesson. You don\u2019t need to start all over again. Just pick up from where you were and keep moving forward. What if it\u2019s a major relapse? In this case, you may need to go back into treatment or counseling. You will need to re-double your efforts at identifying and recognizing triggers, practice more effective coping strategies to deal with cravings and urges, and refine your recovery plan. Attend more 12-step meetings, limit extracurricular activities, and concentrate on healing. You can win back your self-respect \u2013 and that of others \u2013 but you have to be diligent and sincere in your recovery efforts. You may be able to fool others, but you can\u2019t fool yourself. You will know if you\u2019re only going through the motions and not really committing to the process of overcoming your addiction. The good news about slips and relapses and self-respect is that, with genuine commitment, professional help, a sound support network, and loving family, those in recovery will find that self-respect can be not only won back, but also serve as a bedrock foundation to many more years of successful recovery. 8. Strive for a life of integrity. \u2013 Summing up the quest to win back self-respect and that of others, you can boil it down to this: strive to live a life of integrity. When you are honest with yourself and others, when you treat others as you want to be treated, make your words indicative of your commitment, and begin to believe in yourself, self-respect will naturally follow. It does take some doing. The path toward regaining self-respect may be more difficult for some than others. Those overcoming multiple addictions, substance abuse and mental health disorders, or those who have chronic addiction and associated physical\/emotional\/mental conditions may need longer to learn how to successfully navigate this journey. But it is possible \u2013 for all in recovery. From this perspective, it doesn\u2019t matter who you are, what your background is, how much money you make, where you live, whether you have a family history of addiction, abuse, or violence, or what type of addiction or addictions you\u2019ve overcome, if you genuinely want to heal, do all you can to get the help you need, and make a sincere effort to live every day in integrity, you can have every hope that you will succeed. You will know \u2013 and others will, too \u2013 that you\u2019ve given everything you have to living clean and sober. Living a life of integrity is a measure of the highest form of self-respect. You finally respect yourself \u2013 and others will acknowledge and do the same.