Song of Myself — Dignity After Addiction

 In Addiction & Recovery Ins and Outs, Addiction Flash Blog

Self Love in Recovery

Rebuilding self-esteem and self love in addiction recovery is a challenge for many. Dignity seems to be stolen away during addiction. Today we look to Walt Whitman and his wild “yawp” for inspiration.

After disappointing yourself and loved ones over and over, a complex of shame develops in active addiction. Many believe they don’t deserve a better life. Addiction is not your fault and everyone deserves a better life, but self-loathing fuels drinking further.

Believe in Joy—
Believe in Recovery

Happiness and joy will come when we believe in the possibility of having them. One must learn to sing the song of oneself, as Whitman did with his epic poem “Song of Myself.” The powerful opening lines in its first section read:

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Walt Whitman did not suffer from addiction, but he was plagued by bouts of depression. This poem was a triumph—refusing to surrender to depression and instead reveling in the exuberance of self. List work and amends and the other heavy work of recovery is important, but you should find time to commend yourself as well.

Positivity in Sobriety

Make a list of the ways you have grown in your life, qualities you like about yourself, and your strengths. Sing the song of yourself!

Whitman writes:

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

Sound your yawp, your animal cry of power and ecstatic life. Be wild and free, full of joy.

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