During active addiction, we land up in so many embarrassing situations. Such incidents generate toxic feelings of shame and guilt, which we keep bottled up. Moreover, when we use substances for a long time, we lose friends, opportunities, jobs, time and reputation. Such losses lead to low self-esteem and self-loathing.
Learning to love yourself can be a challenge in addiction recovery. However, it is an essential part of the process of overcoming negative emotions and self-esteem issues, especially in early recovery.
Rebuilding broken relationships and building new ones is part of the healing process. But before we love others, we have to learn to love ourselves.
Here are six ways you can love yourself in early recovery:
1. Look in the mirror, honestly.
Not when you’re all dressed up and looking your best, but when you wake up in the morning. At such a vulnerable moment, what do you see? Be honest. Look for and appreciate all the good things about your appearance. Are your eyes a fantastic colour? Does your facial hair look appealing? Seek natural perfection in yourself and gain confidence. Whatever your appearance, start acknowledging and appreciating the fact that you look great, just the way you are.
2. Let go of shame.
Undoubtedly, we’ve made plenty of wrong choices and mistakes. During the recovery process, we do whatever we can to correct them. We make amends to people we have harmed (without hurting them further). In case, we tend to make the same mistakes again, we seek help from a professional therapist and find out why we do so. We learn to forgive ourselves. We start looking at mistakes as a chance to learn from – how can we do better next time. We accept our past, unburden the load of shame and guilt and look forward to the future with renewed hope.
3. Acknowledge what you’re proud of.
Observe your behaviour and acknowledge the moments you’re doing the right thing for yourself or others. Remember, being a good person is part of who you are. You’re the kind of person who is grateful for other’s help and acknowledges their support; you hold the door for others, you volunteer and lend your hand or shoulder to those who need it. Whatever you do, appreciate your good side and pat yourself on the back.
4. Volunteer to serve.
Helping others in the fellowship or a local organisation that supports the marginalised is a great way to get out of your self-obsessed perspective. It may remind yourself where you’re coming from or heading to if you don’t work on your recovery. It is a way to express your gratitude for the help and blessings you received. The more you give, the more you get – that’s a universal truth.
5. Practice self-care.
Do little things every day to take care of your well-being. Treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. For instance, do a quick workout, go for a stroll, eat a balanced and healthy diet, read some good books, get adequate sleep. There are so many ways you can take care of yourself and improve your physical and spiritual condition. You have only one body, take care of it. You’ll feel good and look great!
6. Celebrate your successes!
Whenever you achieve something special or unusual, however small, celebrate in some way. Did you learn a new recipe? Did you push yourself to go an extra mile during your walk? Or finish a course, get a new job, paid off your credit card? And of course, did you achieve a milestone in your abstinence? Tell your friends and get some congratulations. Their good wishes will motivate you to continue your journey toward achieving more milestones.
Take the first step toward achieving freedom from addiction and loving yourself and your life. Safely, conveniently and effectively.
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