How to Reconnect with Yourself in Sobriety
Sobriety is a milestone but not the end of the journey for those recovering from addiction. Self-care involves prioritizing facets of your life, such as health and wellness, instead of simply focusing on avoiding drugs or alcohol. Those in recovery need to continue to seek the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support that they need. These support systems are vital to their long-term well-being.
Many people become addicted almost accidentally. They started to use because of peer pressure, following trauma, or as a coping mechanism. Perhaps they grew up in an environment in which they never learned how to care for their own needs. They may not even know what self-care involves. If it was never modeled by parents and others in their family, they may not understand how to look after their own needs.
For those who struggle with these issues, resources are available, such as those provided by our team at Granite Recovery Centers. By providing three discreet levels of care, clients’ unique needs can be addressed, including the special needs of those who are newly sober but still struggling with emotional pain.
By incorporating holistic practices, clients are empowered along lifelong paths toward full and meaningful recoveries. What are some of the steps to achieving this healthy level of self-care?
Engaging All Aspects of Health
It’s a misnomer to think that successful recovery involves simply not using an addictive substance. Recovery involves a process whereby an individual embraces habits that make sober living easier. These can include simple steps such as taking care of personal hygiene, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and focusing on good nutrition. It can also involve incorporating an exercise routine. Unfortunately, all of these aspects involve change.
Often, clients and families hope recovery is possible without change. Many clients simply want their old lives back, but transformation is necessary. This adjustment includes changing physical habits. Often, physical habits also incorporate other modalities – yoga, for example, has a spiritual as well as a physical component.
Whether you engage in regular sessions with a licensed therapist, participate in group sessions, practice meditation and other holistic techniques, or engage in all of the above, it’s important to pay attention to your mental health. In some cases, a prescription may be advised by your medical professional.
It’s important for those in recovery to address their emotional needs. Guilt, shame, and self-blame are all hurdles that must be overcome. It’s very important to have compassionate care while in recovery. While ending substance use and rediscovering a sense of self is a daunting process, clients need to understand that if they stick to the process, they can once again experience joy, health, and confidence.
Whether you believe in a higher power, a particular faith tradition, or a different point of view, finding practices and people who encourage and support your particular beliefs is part of the healing journey.
Self-Care Practices to Adopt
There are many practical tips that will help facilitate healthy self-care. These practices are often holistic, combining several modalities to achieve the best results.
Mindfulness involves awareness. It actively encourages a focus on physical and mental sensations. This can feel uncomfortable for many people in recovery. It’s hard to stay focused on the present. However, the benefits are immense. By concentrating on your current state, you can get in touch with your true emotions and reflect on real thoughts. These were probably places you chose to avoid when you struggled with addiction.
Social Connections With Others in Recovery
Solitude can feed addiction, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, paranoia – pretty much all the mental health conditions that accompany addiction. Finding a group you can relate to that will support your journey into lifelong sobriety will be immensely helpful.
You need not restrict yourself to 12-step programs like AA and NA although these are great for many people. There are other great ways to connect with people through sobriety-based communities.
When you first embark on your new sober life, you may be tempted to distract yourself. You may focus on staying busy so you’re not tempted by drugs or alcohol. This is counterproductive in the long run.
While it’s normal to equate activity with accomplishment, for someone just entering recovery, becoming overly busy can be destructive. A better approach is to create a good balance that provides a time for work or school but that also includes time for a social life and essential activities such as group meetings and therapy, plus important physical care such as getting the rest you need and eating nourishing food.
Make Time for Yourself
Connecting with people is important. It provides comfort. But you also need to spend time alone. Spend time each week learning about who you are as a sober person. Explore new places, try new activities, listen to music you’ve never heard before, write in a journal, walk in nature, or learn a new skill. You may not enjoy everything you try, but you will learn about yourself.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
There may be friends or even family from your old life who do not accept your new decisions. If they want to use with you or if they try to tempt you again, you should avoid these people. Self-care must focus on protecting yourself and prioritizing your sobriety. Be honest about your needs, and set appropriate boundaries so you can avoid toxic people and situations.
Fostering the Mind/Body/Soul Connection
The steps discussed above are practical guidelines that provide a template for recovery, but they’re not the complete picture. Let’s expand on the important principles of holistic care that incorporate the individual’s body, mind, and spiritual dimension.
When you implement mindfulness in your life, sometimes the easiest place to start is by paying attention to your body. After all, you can more easily evaluate how your body feels and you can see how it looks. You will see the following signs of physical well-being:
● Your skin will appear healthier
● You will have better sleep
● Your energy will improve
● Your general health will improve
It’s important to practice mindfulness daily. This helps you be aware of the improvements listed above while also being aware of any signs of relapse.
While medical detox is a good first step because it focuses on caring for your body through often painful withdrawal, even after you get through this process it’s important to stay alert to your body’s signals. One way to take care of your body is to remain mindful daily. Be aware of what’s going on with your body. That includes what you’re eating and drinking and how restfully you slept the night before.
Pay attention to your physical needs, and provide yourself with the care you need. Remember that both hunger and thirst are needs and so is medical help. Treating your needs for self-care attentively and with self-awareness is part of self-care.
Other ways to practice self-care involve exercise, personal hygiene, and sleep. Whether you go on a brisk daily walk or take an aerobics class, you will feel better afterwards. Just stick to something you enjoy.
Often those suffering from addiction let their sobriety lapse. Caring for these needs as well as your need for rest will help you care for your body, too.
Your Mind and Emotions
You can apply mindfulness to your mind and emotions as well. While theoretically they are two separate entities, in reality, they are often addressed together in therapy. Part of self-care involves meeting on a regular basis with a qualified professional who can help create an honest emotional and mental inventory. Coping strategies can be arrived at for symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
Test and evaluate these strategies. Advocate for yourself – this is an important part of self-care for the emotions and mind. Your experience is valid. If a strategy doesn’t work, talk to your therapist about trying something else.
Another aspect of self-care is to be properly diagnosed for a substance use disorder. Often a dual diagnosis is the right one. Other aspects of this process include incorporation into a sober community, such as group sessions, where you can learn from those who have shared experiences. You can also become more involved with family, friends, and others who are supportive.
Setting boundaries is an important component of mental and emotional self-care. Boundaries remind people they need to remain respectful. Boundaries allow you to create the space you need and to be sensitive to your own feelings and thoughts. These limits help you make progress towards mental and emotional health.
Taking care of your spiritual health is part of self-care. Incorporate it into your daily life, however you find meaningful. Meditation, writing in a journal, interacting with nature, or taking part in a religious or cultural tradition can all serve this purpose. You can practice this in a solitary way, you can engage in private, or you can take part in a group, such as a prayer service or yoga class. The method is really up to you. Part of caring for yourself is making the decision that’s best for your own recovery.
When Self-Care Needs Help
While the strategies mentioned here are helpful and have been tested and aided many individuals to lead a sober and healthy life, some clients need extra help. Everyone is unique and self-care involves acknowledging this. If you’re struggling with more than you can cope with, ask us for assistance. Our compassionate professionals at Granite Recovery Centers will be there to provide the support you need.