There are a lot of emotional battles that we have to face in recovery, because sobriety forces us to come face to face with thoughts, feelings and events of our lives that we’ve suppressed for so long. Sometimes sobriety can bring about feelings of depression and anxiety, especially once we’ve started coming to grips with our past actions and how they’ve affected those we love. Whether you’re in the first month or the first year of recovery, self-love is going to be critical – so that you can accept what you can’t change and courageously move forward.
Kate Malley, a young woman who has overcome addiction, stated on A Lust for Life, a website that publishes personal stories and articles about mental health, physical health and the soul, explained that once she dove into the hard work of self-care, she became stronger. She stated, “I can tell you that as exhausted as self-care can be – it works – but it takes work, a lot of it…but the payoff is definitely worth it…Your emotions become more stabilized, which was a change I definitely appreciated after so long of a rollercoaster of highs and lows.”
The following are some vital components of self-care – and self-love – that can truly transform the way you walk through your journey to recovery.
In 2017, researchers published a study in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly that suggested self-forgiveness as a critical area of growth from self-condemnation, which many people recovering face. Rather than blaming ourselves, we should take ownership of what we’ve done and been through – and then to forgive ourselves and make a promise to ourselves to do better.
Become More Aware
It’s most often that when we lose ourselves to our thoughts and emotions, we’re likely to act in ways that aren’t rational. We essentially give our emotions power, rather than being mindfully aware of what we’re feeling and making decisions that are more rational and beneficial for us and those around us. C. Joybell C., an author of poetry and literature, once stated, “The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”
As humans, we have a knack of being really critical on ourselves – and part of self-love is grounding ourselves with the reality that we are human. By being gentle, empathetic and being kind to ourselves during particularly vulnerable times, we can get much further in our recovery – because we’re not holding ourselves back.
Take Good Care
Self-care is about making sure that we take part in daily activities that make us feel good about ourselves – like reading a good book, creating a new hobby, relaxing, eating healthy food and more. In 2018, The Fix suggested writing about the way you’re feeling, taking time to be alone, getting a break from technology, getting plenty of exercise and connecting with other people – while these may seem like simple, mindless tasks, they can be incredibly restorative for your mind, body and spirit.
Dive Deep in Therapy
The deepest parts of ourselves are often the hardest to tend to, but having a therapist to support you can make a world of difference. Allow yourself to feel pain, to uncover parts of your life that have held you back in the present moment – so that you can effectively work through them. By opening up these wounds with someone licensed to walk you through them, you’ll be in a much better place to move forward in your life.
When we’re focused on everything we’ve done wrong, we’re bound to experience a lower self-esteem. Part of loving yourself is understand that you’re human – that you’ve made mistakes, that you’re going to continue making mistakes, and that you’re capable of also overcoming and learning from life lessons which will propel you further than you’ve ever known you could go.
You’re your own advocate, and your biggest cheerleader in life. Don’t take this lightly! You can practice loving yourself by surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, who lift you up and support your recovery; you can love yourself by empowering yourself with education, practice and activities that make you feel stronger in reaching your goals.
Identify What’s Working
Mind Body Green, a website that promotes the mind, body and spirit, suggests acknowledging what’s working for you – create a list of your positives, of what you’ve done well in with recovery so far, and what you’ve receive compliments on. Review this list every so often – and especially if you’re having a bad day – to remind yourself of the good that’s coming from what you’re doing every single day.
Loving yourself is one of the single most important things you can do, because the way you treat yourself reflects upon everything else you do in life.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.