When you start the recovery process, the act of practicing self-love can seem foreign. This is because, during addiction, you most likely didn’t engage in any self-care practices that improve your overall wellbeing. As your addiction progressed, getting your next fix became a top priority, and you placed compassion towards yourself on the backburner. Now that you are healing from this tumultuous time, focusing on self-love is crucial to help your recovery progress. However, you may need some guidance to get started, especially if you aren’t used to these practices.
Learning how to practice self-love in recovery can help you evolve into the happy, healthy, and sober person you have always wanted to become.
There are numerous stereotypes and stigmas surrounding addiction that typically stem from inaccurate portrayals and information circulated by the media. For individuals in recovery, repeated prejudice and stigma can potentially cause relapse because they begin to believe what is being said about them. For example, many people believe that addiction is a choice or lack of willpower. By blaming the person struggling or telling them that they will never be more than an “addict,” that person may begin to believe the words and start doubting their ability to heal and be successful in recovery. Learning to overcome stigma in recovery is a radical act of self-love that allows you to drown out the naysayers and focus on yourself instead.
You can take steps to overcome stigma by joining a support group, educating yourself, and speaking out to help others. Eventually, you will heal without worrying about the negativity others spew out.
Bringing Awareness to Your Thoughts
It is not uncommon for individuals just starting in recovery to have low self-esteem. Addiction feeds off of low self-esteem, so it is imperative to address this to begin building it up. One way you can do this is by being aware of your thoughts throughout the day. It can be easy to engage in self-deprecating thoughts that constantly drag you down, but this will ultimately do more to harm your recovery and self-esteem.
The way you talk to yourself either out loud or internally is known as self-talk. Self-talk has a significant influence on your thoughts and emotions, so it is important to practice positive self-talk. If you have consistently practiced negative self-talk in the past, this can be a challenging process initially. However, by catching yourself in critical self-talk, you can begin making changes to the relationships you have with yourself.
Your thoughts affect your emotions, so engaging in positive self-talk can drastically improve your overall wellbeing and mood. Practice being more compassionate with yourself and approaching yourself with gentler, kinder words. The difference you see will happen quicker than you expect.
Learn to Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness frees you from the guilt associated with your past. If you have struggled with addiction, you may blame yourself for missing out on important events, harming your health, or neglecting responsibilities. However, this blame and guilt can keep you trapped in the cycle of negative thinking and self-image. When you begin forgiving yourself, you free yourself from this burden.
Forgiveness is not easy at first, especially towards yourself. However, you can take steps to make it happen. First, you should identify what brings you negative thoughts and self-hatred. By identifying specific instances, you can begin sharing these in therapy. This will help you get out your overall feelings and help you work out the emotions you have been repressing.
From there, you will need to practice more self-compassion and learn how to speak more kindly to yourself. This will help you have a more positive and hopeful mindset about the future and recovery. Then, give yourself credit for how far you have come. It can be easy to be hard on yourself when you fall short but recognizing the hard work you’ve put in can boost your overall sobriety.
As you continue taking active strides towards showing compassion for yourself, you can begin implementing self-care activities to help the process along. Actively engaging in self-care can make you feel better and give you the boost needed to keep going in recovery. It is important to remember that self-care is not selfish but rather an act of patience, love, and compassion towards yourself. Self-care is necessary for maintaining a healthy recovery.
To practice self-care, there isn’t a right or wrong course of action. It looks different for everyone, so it is essential to figure out what self-care looks like for you. This could be eating your favorite dinner after a long day, cleaning your house to have a peaceful place to work in, or having lunch with friends. Whatever self-care looks like for you, make sure you set aside time every day to practice it. Over time, your self-love will increase as you continue this practice.
Recovery is the time to turn around the negative thoughts and practices you engaged in during active addiction. Now is the time to learn about self-love and how to implement it into your daily life to help you maintain recovery for the long term. At first, you may have difficulty with self-love because it is a foreign concept. However, you will gradually become better at it and utilize it in your journey towards sobriety. If you need guidance during this time, NorthStar Transitions is here to help. We work diligently to help our clients navigate real-life recovery through trauma-informed programs and various therapies. Located in beautiful Colorado, our facility provides the perfect setting for your healing journey. You will learn to embrace recovery through somatic and experiential activities to confront addiction’s underlying causes and find healing. To learn more about the programs we have to offer, call NorthStar today at (303) 558-6400.