It’s already easy enough to beat ourselves up, get lost in a chaotic life and fall into a negative feedback loop that has us down and doubting which leads us to things like drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Addiction shakes you to the core, grabs hold of your life and, at its worst, engulfs it completely. The pursuit of drugs and alcohol shifts to become your absolute priority and everything else falls by the wayside, leaving destruction in the wake. Substance abuse wreaks havoc on your mind and body, destroying relationships and leveling aspirations. It’s the pinnacle of self-neglect.
Getting sober is a monumental step in rebuilding those things but you need to add what was missing in your previous life: self-care. Once clean and on the path of recovery, it’s important to internalize that taking care of yourself is an unequivocal necessity to success. Both mentally and physically. At Principles Recovery Center, we hope all of our clients put an emphasis on self care.
What Is Self-Care for Recovering Addicts?
Simply put, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health”. For recovering addicts, it means finding and prioritizing healthy ways of taking care of oneself. Like all aspects of recovery, a productive self-care regimen is purely dependent on each person’s personality, interests and what they value.
Importance of Self Care in Recovery
As you’ve probably gathered, self-care is more than a bubble bath every now and then and requires dedication and attention. It’s a concept that’s as multifaceted as your life and as such, it needs to touch every part of your life.
Mental – Getting yourself into a good headspace is perhaps the most difficult part of dealing with substance abuse and where self-care can help the most. It was a long road into addiction and it’s a long road out with many distractions along the way. Your treatment equipped you with the tools to not let those distractions steer you towards substances but there’s a difference between that and actively working towards feeling good in your mind.
It requires making time to learn your triggers on a deeper level and how to cope with them positively. It’s allowing yourself to relax, not beat yourself up and strive towards balance. It’s getting comfortable being alone and delving into and discovering your interests. Exploring what makes you happy.
Mental self-care is learning to love and accept yourself.
Physical – Food and exercise have a dramatic effect on how we feel. Don’t take exercise to mean that you have to become a triathlete or champion bodybuilder to care for yourself. Nope, it’s as easy as going for a walk or jog, playing some pick-up basketball, taking a swim, etc. the idea is to get those endorphins flowing to create those good and positive vibes.
It goes without saying that what you put in your body has an effect, drugs and alcohol proved that, but the food you eat does too. A diet full of soda and junk food is going to have you feeling like, well, junk. A healthy diet, conversely, will lift you up. It’ll increase your overall energy and enhance your attitude. Good food = good mood as they say.
Social – Your relationships also are an important aspect of self-care. Prolonged isolation is devastating to mental health so making sure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people is huge. Joining a 12-step group or even entering sober living are fantastic ways to connect with people who understand what you’re going through.
On the flip side, you will likely still have relationships with people from your past life and it’s vital to set boundaries with them and make it very known that you’re 100% committed to your sobriety.
Take Care of Your Addiction at Principles Recovery Center
This may seem unnatural and out of character to you, to devote this much attention to yourself. It’s understandable but the big takeaway is that it’s not selfish to care for, and about, yourself. Not doing that is part of what may have led you to substance abuse in the first place.
At Principles Recovery Center, we see developing an empowering self-care plan as an integral part of recovery and would love to tell you more about how we go about it, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Also, bubble baths are fine, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.