Without Self-care for addiction recovery, your chances of relapse greatly increase. In fact, many people believe that recovery is only about quitting alcohol or other toxic substances. Unfortunately, they often find that even though they have stopped drinking and using, they still feel the inner unease that originally led to addiction rather than the joy and peace they had hoped to get once they removed alcohol from their lives. What they do not understand is that recovery requires more than abstinence from substance use. To fully recover, they need to heal the whole self. These three self-care facts for addiction recovery show you why that’s important.

How Most Alcoholics Practice Self-Care

While I was drinking, I managed self-care with alcohol

I drank when I felt stress, to have fun, to ease my anger, and just to feel good. At the same time, I avoided doctor and dentist appointments, ate horrible foods, never exercised except to dance at the bar, and I lied to myself about all of it. I drank using the logic that I was “treating myself” because of the troubles I had been through.

In truth, while I was drinking, I wasn’t practicing self-care properly. Rather I was more concerned with getting that next drink than taking care of my health and well-being.

Lack of Self-Care Often Starts Before Alcoholism

Unfortunately, most of us start out not understanding how to care for ourselves. I can trace my misunderstanding of self-care to long before I started drinking. Without a good concept of boundaries, I let people step all over me. People made demands on my time, spending habits, and beliefs, and I caved to them.

 

self-facts for addiction recovery

I made excuses for people who said things like you are stupid and your opinion doesn’t matter. Some would disrespect me in front of other people, and I would respond by saying, “that’s okay. He’s just like that. He doesn’t mean anything by it.”

For me, a boundary was the bubble I created around myself, and I wanted people to stay out of it. I didn’t want to be touched and got anxious when people got too deep into my space.

As a people pleaser, I did everything other people wanted me to do even when it didn’t serve me. Eventually, I became so miserable that alcohol became the only thing that gave me joy. I lost all hope for a happy life.

I have since learned self-care facts for addiction recovery and discovered that there is so much more about self-care that I didn’t know. By learning how to pursue my passion, knowing my authentic self, and having self-compassion, I discovered that I could find happiness.

Do You know Self-Care Facts for Addiction Recovery?

How much do you know about self-care?

When you understand and practice proper self-care, you have a better grasp on sobriety, one that gives you strength over potential relapse. It gives you the ability to enjoy sobriety much more, and it makes you better prepared to care for the ones you love. As a bonus, when you practice self-care, you model it for the people you love, giving them the ability and permission to practice it as well.

Self-Care isn't just about you

Self-Care Fact for Addiction Recovery #1

Self-care Isn’t Just about You

Many people in recovery worry that self-care is selfish. If this is you, you are not alone. In fact, my interest in learning more about  self-care facts for addiction recovery came after someone posed that question as a topic for our podcast, Back Porch Chats. This person had just had a baby and was struggling with having to take care of herself knowing her new baby needed to be taken care of first.

The truth is, self-care is about taking care of yourself, so you can be a better person for the people around you. Practicing self-care relieves stress, makes you healthier so you can live longer, and provides you with energy and peace of mind. These are important if you want to be present for your children and grandchildren.

Remember, you can’t pour anything from an empty glass. If you are not practicing self-care, your glass will quickly empty, leaving you nothing to give to the people you love.

Self-Care Fact for Addiction Recovery #2

You Do Not Need to Earn Self-Care

After years of drinking, you may not believe you deserved self-care. Personally, I believed I had already used up all my selfish allotment. Additionally, I was so ashamed about the things I did while in active addiction that I didn’t think I was worthy. I was more concerned with making amends to the people I had hurt and giving back to my ill parents who had put up with years of worry over my safety. When I recovered, I put everyone’s needs before my own because I felt like I needed to earn the right to self-kindness.

What I discovered when I learned self-care facts for addiction recovery, however, was that self-care is essential for my recovery. I needed to get to the root of why I drank, so I could prevent relapse. Practicing self-care would help me do that.

Self-Care Is Self-Love

It was important that I not only accept that I really didn’t like myself very much but also discover how I came to believe that. For years, I had told myself that if my dad, who abandoned me repeatedly, didn’t love me, that it was because I was unloveable. Through self-care, I learned how to forgive both him and myself and eventually realized that I was worthy of love.

By practicing self-care in recovery, you begin to learn that you are just a small part of a larger world. You discover that you have many wonderful gifts that are essential to the greater good but that you could only give them by being clear-headed and sober. With that, you get a sense of purpose and a reason to maintain your sobriety.

You don’t have to earn self-care. In fact, you must treat it like an obligation as it is the only way you can give back to the world the gifts that it gave you.

Learn to love yourself. I know it may be hard, but your sobriety depends on it. Make this your mantra. “I am worthy, I am loved, I am enough. Right here. Right now. Just the way I am.”

Self-Care Fact for Addiction Recovery #3

Self-care Is Not Just a Luxury

When my children were growing up, I would treat myself with shopping sprees, hot baths, and massages in the name of practicing self-care. Part of the problem was that I didn’t understand what self-care truly meant, but it also was that I felt I had to make excuses to deserve it in order to get it. Giving yourself luxuries are acts of self-care, but true self-care is so much more.

Self-care isn't just a luxury

True self-care is also about connecting with nature, having friends you can count on, and getting creative. It’s learning to be with yourself without covering up the inside chatter with outside television. It’s about being self-aware and finding spirituality—not necessarily religion which is much different than spirituality. Self-care includes intellectual growth and  loving yourself simply because you’re amazing.

All these great acts of self-care are essential for maintaining sobriety, but most people either do not understand how to practice them or make time to include them in their busy lives.

How many of these acts of self-kindness did you do when you were in active addiction?

How many do you do now?

3 Self-Care Facts for Addiction Recovery

Self-Care Takes Practice

If you haven’t already, it’s time for you to get a really good understanding of self-care facts for addiction recovery and start putting them into action.

One way to do this is to have someone guide you through it.

 

I have created a course called Simply Sober Self-Care: A course to help you beat “I Need a Drink” thinking. It covers all areas of self-care that I have talked about and much more. It includes practice activities, mid-week motivation to keep you going, and weekly live meetings that let you ask questions as you need them. If you want to know more about the course, head on over to the Simply Sober page in my website or email me your questions. I would be glad to answer all your self-care questions.

Not Sure You Have a Problem with Alcohol

If you are considering whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, it might be worth looking into. This free workbook may give you the answers you are looking for.

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