Self-care is a concept that is complete and total anathema to the individual in active addiction. Our goals in this state are twofold: consciously, our goal is to perpetuate, indefinitely, our drug and alcohol use. Unconsciously, our goal is the utter destruction of ourselves as a means to escape the suffering of life. Once we have detached ourselves from the physical addiction through detoxification, however, the real work can begin, and the first step in this process of reinvigoration is the application of self-care.
The importance of applying self-care can be reduced to a simple yet crucial point, namely, that we need to combat the apathy and indifference of the addicted state with the willing engagement into life. The problem that arises in early recovery is that this is a completely foreign domain for us. We came from a state of total physical dependence and an utter shunning of the responsibilities that reality requires. Without addressing the more existential matters of early recovery, let’s look at self-care as a means to learn to crawl before we attempt walking. We can think of self-care as a set of systems that begin with the individual and move outward systematically into the eventual realm of spirituality and wholeness. At the individual level, we can begin applying self-care measures that are as simple as completing hygienic tasks such regimented showering, brushing our teeth, and cleaning our rooms. From there we can begin to practice more healthy ways of living that would include a balanced diet, routine exercise, and equally as impactful as the formerly mentioned, time that we allocate to enjoy life in whatever capacity we choose to do that. Once we have established behavioral compliance with those two facets, we can begin to look at the interpersonal realm. We can engage in self-care by going out to meetings, gatherings, and events with other individuals in recovery where we can create bonds and relationships that will add vigor and meaning to our lives. From the interpersonal dimension, we can then look at self-care as it pertains to educational and occupational endeavors. While going to school or obtaining a job are part and parcel of the recovery process, we need to ensure that we set aside time to meet our other self-care needs when entering into work or school because it is easy to fall into a repetitious pattern where these integral aspects of self-care fall to the wayside. We’ve often heard, “you need to love yourself before you can love another” and this is especially true in the context of self-care as it is really just an expression of how we love ourselves in a practical and day to day basis.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. By showing our men how to celebrate each day’s victories, we show them that self love isn’t about what we have or haven’t done. It’s about getting a little closer to where we want to be. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.