Taking care of yourself may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s something many people struggle with or neglect entirely, especially those in active addiction. When someone is drinking or using drugs, the substance becomes their priority, and physical and mental well-being fall to the wayside.
Self-care is in our best interest, but many people – especially those in recovery – are resistant to it. That resistance stems from a lack of awareness. People who have a substance use disorder may be dealing with feelings of guilt, shame, depression or low-self esteem as a result of family-of-origin issues, self-sabotage, workaholism or a refusal to grow up. They self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope, but those negative feelings don’t go away.
In recovery, you have no choice but to face the feelings you once tried to escape from and build awareness, which can be achieved through a self-care practice. It can be challenging to get back into the habit of taking care of yourself, but it’s one of the most important things you can do in recovery.
Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
How can you possibly expect to be the best version of yourself when you aren’t taking care of yourself? Self-care isn’t a sign of selfishness or vanity. It’s actually more selfish not to practice self-care than to practice it regularly.
Refusing to care for yourself is ultimately a form of disrespect that inevitably leads to consequences that affect your happiness, health, relationships, etc. You may be dealing with those consequences first hand.
Practicing self-care is a sign that you’re committed to maintaining a certain level of respect for yourself, and that you’re less willing to tolerate disrespect from others. It helps you reach a state of self-actualization where you realize your full potential – and that your ability to reach your potential is contingent on your well-being.
Self-Care Is a State of Mind
People often make the incorrect assumption that self-care is a form of self-indulgence, or “treating yourself.” There’s nothing wrong with getting a massage, spending a day at the pool or enjoying a warm cup of tea, but none of those things should serve as primary attempts at self-care.
If you’re feeling stressed or burnt out, a spa day isn’t going to fix it. Self-care is a state of mind in which you’re periodically checking in, taking stock of your thoughts and feelings, and caring for yourself, so you don’t reach a point where you’re completely drained.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate a consistent self-care practice into your routine, so it becomes a part of your lifestyle and boosts your recovery:
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat when you’re hungry.
- Attend 12 Step meetings and support groups.
- Get outside.
- Take your medication.
- Talk about your feelings with a loved one, your sponsor, therapist, case manager, recovery coach, etc.
- Don’t give in to negative self-talk.
- Set boundaries.
- Enjoy alone time.
Recovery has its fair share of challenges, but a consistent self-care practice can improve your mindset, build awareness and strengthen your relationship with yourself. Segue Recovery Support’s ongoing coaching services can ensure that you or your loved one is on-track in recovery. For more information about our services, contact a Recovery Specialist at 1-833-485-0789.