Overcoming Issues of Self-Image

How we are perceived formulates from the day we are born.  Due to constantly being evaluated by others, our psyche is influenced by how others perceive us.  One of the most common concepts of beauty in modern society is someone’s weight and physical appearance.  This concept has a critical effect on our self-worth, to the point where it can become detrimental.

While obesity is an actual medical condition that can lead to many health complications, the social stigma behind it can become psychologically devastating to the person suffering from weight-management issues.  An article by Healthy Children.org states “studies show that children as young as 6 years may associate negative stereotypes with excess weight and believe that a heavy child is simply less likable.” These stereotypes, unfortunately, reinforce behavior such as bullying during adolescence, and creation of multiple risk factors for mental illness among those dealing with obesity. There are, however, many ways people with weight-management issues can deal with and eventually overcome the psychological obstacles that they face.

It is hard to find acceptance in a society that constantly observes and judges one another. Negative feedback and self-awareness go hand in hand when dealing with one’s daily interactions.  As Dr. Sean G. Connolly writes, “we cannot control the comments of others, often uninvited, but we can control how we deal with them.” It is important he says to, “give yourself the right to feel good about yourself and feel more secure.” 

Self-affirmation, whether repeating words to yourself or conditioning positive thoughts in your head, can have a reinforcing effect in your psyche over time.  This can be accomplished by selecting some affirmation statements to condition a positive sense of self.  Dr. Connolly also elaborates how “counseling and life coaching can help you along in promoting self-perceptions that have an impact on our self-esteem.” With this said, lifestyle changes go hand in hand with self-acceptance and awareness. 

By implementing self-awareness into your situation, and implementing mental health exercises such as self-affirmation statements, one’s self-image can positively develop over time.  This, combined with proper dieting and moderate exercise 2-3 times a week, can help establish a better sense of self and overall bill of physical health.  While it is important to understand that obesity and weight-management issues are a medical dilemma in modern society, it is equally important to understand how psychologically damaging negative stereotypes and behaviors are when directed at those dealing with weight issues.


Written By – Taylor Goyen 

It Is Not Your Fault

Over the years I have seen parents or spouses who feel somehow responsible for the substance abuse of their loved one. I always make it a point to be very direct with them about these feelings: “It’s not your fault.” I look them in the eye and say that is a calming and reassuring a voice as I can manage. Many times, especially from mothers, tears instantly form.

Problematic substance use nearly always develops form one or more of the following:

  • Low levels of certain brain chemicals has for decades now been identified by scientists as the ‘driver’ for addiction to substances. That is because the substances cause the brain to produce an abundance of the normally low level chemicals. Terms like “Hypodopamegenic” have entered the lexicon of the medical community that works with those seeking help. The # 1 reason to be Hypodopamegenic? Genetics.
  • Extreme or repetitive traumas can cause the brain to become depleted of hormones the brain uses to help us feel balanced, substances can provide the brain with a ‘quick fix’ that just as quickly can become a daily solution, then a nightmare.
  • Over exposure to substances. Especially in European countries where alcohol is consumed at all times, dependence can form because the brain becomes too used to the substances and the stimulation cycle of brain chemistry that results.
  • Mental Health challenges, these too can cause brain chemistry problems that result in seeking outside substances to correct the problem.

Looking over the list you might have noticed that brain chemistry/hormones are the one universal common feature. If you are a parent or spouse of someone who is addicted, how could you have possibly control of someone else’s brain chemistry?

Keeping It Fresh

Recovery programs are famous for the philosophy of One-Day-At-A-Time. Sometimes it is easy to assume that implies ‘hanging on’ and making it through. That is far from the reality though for people who are through the initial stages of early recovery.

Instead, this phrase takes on perhaps an even more important meaning. It is human nature that the more we are familiar with something the more we gradually begin to take it for granted. Cell phones, tablets, laptops, electricity, automobiles and many other things that are a part of our everyday world no longer seem at all novel, yet, they are all very new in the scope of human history.

When the novelty of recovery begins to fade a subtle danger can set in. No longer ‘desperate’ and driven to do whatever it takes, some people begin to gradually lay aside the tools and techniques that such a short time ago brought them back from an abyss of addicted crisis. Addiction is a chronic condition that needs a level of treatment every day to stay in remission.

That is where One-Day-At-A-Time plays a role in helping to keep people on track. By adopting this motto as their own, people in recovery can work to see recovery as forever fresh and vital.

Those who have made it to long recovery will attest how important that motto is and how great recovery is as well.


Written by Michael O’Neal – Clinical Director