The 7 Best Self-Care Tips For Early Addiction Recovery

holistic drug rehabWhen you’re in active addiction, oftentimes wants and needs go out the window because you feel overpowered by the compulsion to use your drug of choice. You want to take care of yourself, but you find it quite challenging because your mind is consistently running thoughts about using your drugs. Many addicts who end up in a treatment facility or a 12-step group have gone years without considering what their wants and needs. Some may have let their appearance slide, not taking care of their personal hygiene. Or maybe they’ll empty their bank accounts and now have no more savings left. Some have neglected a healthy relationship for a toxic relationship or have very few relationships at all.

We grow up with our parents taking care of us and even though they probably taught us how to take care of ourselves, many people do not – especially in early addiction recovery.  They have good intentions but for one reason or another they halfheartedly practice self-care or are so busy partying or taking care of others they do not take care of self.

On another note, those in recovery for codependency have a tough time recognizing the importance of self-care too. On the opposite end of an addict is usually someone who has codependency traits.  Both of the partners may not realize how important self-care is, and their emotional and physical well-being can struggle on account of this.

What is self-care?

What is your idea of self-care?  A weekend at the spa? A vacation to the beach for relaxation?  Sometimes we think that self-care only means taking care of the outer life, but it also includes the inner life.

Taking care of yourself ought to include the physical, mental, and spiritual part of you.  Here are some of the best self-care tips that you can incorporate into your life.

Take Time For Yourself In The Morning

I know getting up early does not sound appealing to many people, but getting up a few minutes before you have to start your day is beneficial for you and may just give you a positive lift that carries through the day.  I recommend that you get up 30 minutes before you have to begin getting ready for the day.  Take this time to meditate, pray, sit outside and breathe in fresh air, go for a walk, listen to relaxing music, or simply sit and drink tea or coffee while counting your blessings. Taking this quiet time every morning will refresh and energize your spirit and elevate your mood. Who wouldn’t love that?

If 30 minutes is a bit much for you, start with five or ten minutes and go from there. This time can vary for each person and at different stages of your life. If you’ve got children to tend to, it can be more challenging to find quiet time in the morning.  If that’s the case, consider taking your quiet time in the evening or at nap time, when the kids are sleeping.  Regardless of when you take it, or how long, consider the possibility that taking quiet time can decrease stress and improve levels of peace and joy when done consistently.

Connect With Your Higher Power

Make a concentrated effort to connect with your higher power daily.  This can be done in the morning or anytime throughout the day.  Sit quietly, take a few deep breaths, and be still.  Enjoy the presence of your Creator. Allow your heart to be filled with gratitude and love.  Listen for gentle whispers of affirmations and guidance from the source of creation.  Contemplate. Enjoy solitude.  Simply “be”.

If believing in a higher power isn’t your thing, maybe just offer gratitude to the Universe for its magnificent. The power of gratitude can work wonders in anyone’s life.

Journal for addiction recovery

In addiction recovery, keep a journal of thoughts, goals, accomplishments, and anything else you feel like writing.  Keeping a journal throughout the years is a great way to gauge your journey through life.  Journaling is very therapeutic and can help you sort out your feelings, fears, and dreams.  Every once in a while read through your past and see how you have changed or if there areas that still need to be changed in your life.  Don’t be afraid to write everything down, as you are the only one who has to see your journal.

There are many people in addiction recovery that start blogs too. A blog is simply an online avenue for posting your thoughts, articles, and stories.  In fact, you may have read a few people’s blogs before while browsing the internet.  By sharing your addiction recovery journey online, you may be able to inspire others who are struggling with addiction or alcoholism.

Make Time For Friends

Make time for good friends in addiction recovery. Research states that people who have at least one good friend that they spend time with are happier than those who don’t spend time with friends.  I know life gets busy, especially for those who are raising children, but it is important to make time for friends.  You can go out for coffee, go shopping, share a meal, or commit to exercising together once or twice a week.  Sharing life with a friend is special.  If you don’t have any close friends, make it a point to develop a friendship with someone that you have common interests with.  You can always join a club in your community, attend a local synagogue, or get involved in volunteering in your community to meet new people.

Attend a support group

Addiction recovery can involve attending a support group too, like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.  There’s also a support group called SMART Recovery, but that one is not based on the 12 Step principles.  At a support group, you’ll be able to connect with others who are in addiction recovery, and this can prove quite valuable in your own recovery.

You’ll have the option to get a sponsor or mentor and work through the Steps of the program.  As you work through the steps of the program, you’ll be able to rediscover yourself that perhaps you forgot under many layers of pain and wounds throughout the years. You’ll be able to get better in touch with some feelings that perhaps you have been numbing over the years. Feelings such as anxiety, depression, regret, shame, guilt, and so on.

It can prove valuable to go over these things with your sponsor, or counselor if you’re able to attend counseling. There are many recovering alcoholics and addicts who admit that they’ve grown significantly by working through the steps. Some even go on to work through the steps multiple times, because they gain such insight each time they go through them. It certainly helps in their addiction recovery long-term.

Do one thing that you like each day

One wonderful self-care tip is to purposely do one thing each day that makes you feel happy. We can get so bogged down with duties and responsibilities in life, that we forget to actually participate in things that bring us feelings of joy. You might get home from work and be exhausted and just watch TV for five hours straight and go to sleep. Now, this could be something that brings you some feelings of comfort, but what are some things that you would really like to do that bring you excitement and joy? What are some things you used to do that made you feel ecstatic, but you gave up?

Make a list of some things that you love to do; that bring you joy. Add to the list things that you’d like to try that you think will bring you feelings of happiness and excitement. Keep that list in a place that you see frequently, because it’s so easy to forget that we’re here to enjoy life. Each day, do one thing that you know brings you those feelings. It can be as simple as getting down on the floor and play with your dog. It can be going for a walk in nature, playing catch with your son, treating yourself to a good dinner, playing the guitar, playing tennis with a friend, singing karaoke with your spouse, and so on. Get creative and have fun with this, as this is a great way to practice self-care in your addiction recovery.

Conclusion

Taking care of yourself does not have to be a daunting task in addiction recovery.  You are a beautiful creation and deserve the best.  By investing in yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually, you will live a more fulfilled life and experience more joy. You will also radiate love and joy more freely and abundantly and that my friends, is exactly what our world needs.

If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, know that you’re not alone. Help is available in the form of addiction treatment.  Just as a medical disease is treatable, so is the disease of alcoholism and addiction.  Simply reach out for help and begin to plan your path of addiction recovery. We are here to help you navigate that path and answer any questions you may have.  Pick up the phone and reach out for help today, and take that first step toward your addiction recovery.