Exercise. Diet. Sleep. Meditation. Laughter. They’re all forms of self-care. As a recovering addict, I’ve learned that when I’m in my disease, it all goes to hell in a hand-basket. So I had to put aside my daily life as the walking wounded and learn how to stand in the sun.
Addiction is stressful. Whether you smoke it, snort it, eat it, or buy it, it’s a vicious cycle of hustling to get what you need. Once you’ve laid down with it, you get up the next day and do it all over again. That life is known as chronic stress and is a massive contributor to the top six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
Although self-care can sound like a post-modern buzz word, it’s really about meeting your human needs. When I was newly sober, my priorities were out of alignment with what I actually needed. I had to realize that everything I do with my time is a choice. I found that forgoing TV, saying ‘no’ to certain commitments, even if potentially displeasing to others, I could start small. I listened to what I needed, prioritized and then scheduled it in my calendar.
These days I make time for all of it. Healthy homemade food, scheduled time at the gym, time with family, friends, and myself, and good sleep every night. When you’re in early recovery, being assertive with self-care is not a luxury. It’s not selfish and it’s not indulgent, it’s absolutely necessary to your physical and mental health. Remembering that it’s all about relapse prevention, gave me that extra incentive to shore up my willingness to work it.
Self-care: it’s an integral part of the formula for lasting sobriety.