Tag Archives: Strength in Recovery

Tag Archives: Strength in Recovery

Learning to love yourself in recovery

As human beings, we’re already battling a number of thoughts and emotions – and the events of our past, present and future can weigh heavily on us. One of the most challenging aspects of healing for those in addiction is learning how to love oneself, especially if resentment is found; for many people, the beginning of healing is marked by a point of shame, anxiety and fear of abandonment. Nobody likes to face painful life events, but when addiction is active, it’s all too common to fall into the trap of self-defeat and even self-hatred. Self-love in recovery is crucial as we learn to accept the mistakes we’ve made in the past, while also maintaining hope for our future. For many people, 12-Step programs foster this beautiful journey of healing and growth.

Defining Self-Love

While it’s been quite the buzzword on social media lately, self-love is defined as:

“Regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.”

There are many characteristics of self-love, such as:

  1. Not looking to other people or one’ productivity to define their worth
  2. Speaking to oneself with love and compassion
  3. Accepting what we cannot change
  4. Firmly saying “no” if that’s what feels right for us
  5. Setting boundaries for ourselves when it comes to technology and other harmful habits
  6. Knowing ourselves and making our choices based on what works best for our happiness and health
  7. Making time to do things that bring us joy
  8. Not dwelling on past mistakes
  9. Trusting one’s path in life
  10. Learning to set boundaries with others, and more

It always feels so much easier to fall into negative coping patterns of behavior – to blame others for the pain we’ve experienced, to wallow in self-pity over what we can’t have and more. When we look at the bigger picture, however, what does that bring us? How much happiness do we gain from it? In many cases, that negative sense of self-identity is perpetuated, and we only continue to enact an unhealthy relationship with ourselves.

Contributor Joyce Marter told the Huffington Post in 2016 that,

“Self-love is the prerequisite for complete immersion in the abundant flow of light and love in the world around us.”

In order to love ourselves fully, we have to take daily action to improve our relationship with ourselves: and while it isn’t easy, it’s definitely worth it. 

Practicing Self-Love

One of the first and most important aspects of self-love has to do with how we talk to ourselves. Words of affirmation are incredibly important; daily affirmations and recognizing our strengths is key to becoming stronger within ourselves. It’s easy to focus on our weaknesses, what we’ve done wrong, why others shouldn’t involve us in their lives – but there are so many positive, admirable traits about us that deserve to be recognized, too.

Another aspect of self-love is treating ourselves kindly. There are many actions that we can take from this, such as:

  • Preparing ourselves healthy meals
  • Creating and maintaining a clean home environment to bring us peace and serenity
  • Scheduling regular dental check-ups, along with doctor’s appointments and therapy appointments if needed
  • Grooming ourselves with love and care, as well as dressing in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves

Last year, Medical News Today, a website that publishes information related to a variety of health conditions, explained that one of the most common dangers to self-love is perfectionism. When we make perfectionism the most important thing, we tend to experience a number of serious harmful health effects, such as:

  • A shorter lifespan
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Slower recovery time from serious conditions like heart disease
  • And more

The reality is that we’re not perfect, nor will we ever be – because we’re human. 12-Step programs often help us overcome this perspective on life by reminding us that a Higher Power is in charge – and by building a stronger connection with a Higher Power, we can recognize that we don’t always have the control that we think we have in life.

Start Self-Love Today

If you’re ready to apply more self-love to your recovery, it’s important to remember that there are going to be many days when you don’t feel like it – but you have to do it anyway because it will pay off throughout the span of your life. It’s about creating healthy habits of treating yourself – and self-love will help you become happier and healthier in nearly all aspects of life. Right now, practice saying these words of affirmation:

I’m doing everything I can to create a great life for myself, and that’s commendable.

I believe in myself and my journey.

I’m a strong person and I can get through whatever obstacles come my way.

If you’re ready to begin the beautiful journey towards healing and wellness, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers, and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Finding gratitude and faith in recovery

When we’re battling addiction, it can feel as though we’ve lost sight of what truly matters in our lives. We become focused on seeking out substances, thereby missing the opportunity to grow in our personal and spiritual journey to wellness; in this downfall, we may lose aspects of ourselves that once meant so much to us – such as our health, relationships, career path, hobbies and more. Before we know it, we may find ourselves battling unhealthy emotions like guilt, isolation, anger and resentment – and if we continue spiraling down this path, we may go on to experience even more hardship and destruction in our lives.

Recovery is incredibly difficult for this exact reason – with so much to overcome, we must push ourselves harder than ever before to find the light amidst the darkness. By adopting crucial positive emotions while healing – gratitude, acceptance and faith – we are much more likely to carry out recovery in beautiful ways we never thought were possible.

Why Perception is So Important

A few years ago, Forbes Magazine likened perception to a mathematical equation that becomes complex;

“This infinite mathematical equation continues throughout our lives and it is too awesome for the human mind to calculate. Exponentially it builds a calculation that is way beyond our capabilities to imagine. No wonder our perceptions are unique to only us.”

As human beings, it’s completely natural for us to focus more on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right. If you’ve ever taken an inventory of how your day went before you went to bed, it’s suddenly easier to remember the small moments of disappointment or frustration rather than to recall the singing birds outside the window, the gentle rain that was so relaxing or the kind word that was said by a friend or loved one. Why is this?

The Huffington Post explains that used to be an effective mode for survival – if we were able to perceive problems, we were more likely to survive – but nowadays, it only perpetuates mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. So how can we combat this natural tendency to look at everything negatively?

Use These Tools

There are several small steps we can take each day to increase positive thoughts and emotions; we just have to make the time to do them:

  • Relish in the moments that bring us joy – When something happens that makes us smile, we can tune into all of our senses to really enjoy the present moment. By basking in this beautiful instance, we’re appreciating the good that’s just come into our lives – which ultimately leaves us in a happier state of mind.
  • Maintain a gratitude journal – It may sound silly but writing down the things we’re grateful for each day can help us remain satisfied in our daily lives. Sometimes we forget the small, precious moments that have added beauty to our day – and a gratitude journal will ensure that we don’t forget them.
  • Take a break from the news – journalists often report gore and tragic events because that’s what draws attention; but for many people, the news only adds negativity. Take a break from watching the news, and instead fuel up with some positive things – such as uplifting music.
  • Use critical thinking with your judgments – the next time you find yourself judging a situation negatively, utilize your critical thinking and assess – is that completely accurate? Could there have been another meaning that could be derived from the situation? By challenging yourself, you’re helping change those habits in the mind that perpetuate a state of pessimism.

Using 12-Step Programs to Foster Mental, Physical and Spiritual Wellness

There are many beautiful areas of recovery that also foster this type of growth. Mindfulness and meditation, for example, are evidence-based, holistic practices that teach individuals how to focus more on the present moment. In doing this, the chaotic thought processes that typically occur are gently guided to more positive, simplistic ways of being – and this is the start of a beautiful journey to recovery for many.

12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), also encourage positive thinking by helping individuals work through what has previously held them back. No matter what we’ve gone through in the past, we can’t fully heal until we’ve worked diligently in recovery – and 12-Step programs provide a safe space for people to do this alongside others in similar situations. In fact, the following are what you can find amongst the 12-Steps:

  1. Honesty
  2. Faith
  3. Surrender
  4. Soul Searching
  5. Integrity
  6. Acceptance
  7. Humility
  8. Willingness
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Maintenance
  11. Making Contact
  12. Service

It is through these steps that many people find a more enriching life, with healthy connections to others and tools to help them navigate challenging situations. Rather than feeling lost and abandoned, those in recovery can share and learn from others in a setting that promotes healing and growth. Sponsors further support individuals by guiding them through some of life’s greatest challenges, and perceptions become shaped more towards a life of healing as time goes on.

Begin Your Journey Today

Even if it feels scary to take the leap forward, recovery is a positive change that can enhance a person’s life in ways they never thought imaginable. Don’t wait and allow those negative thoughts to take over your life any longer – make a pact to start the journey to increased happiness, gratitude and faith today by speaking with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers, and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

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