After being an addict and alcoholic for so long, a person can start to believe that they are not good enough and that they don’t measure up….at least that’s what I thought about myself.

It makes sense as to why a person can start feeling this way. For so long, while I was in active addiction, I didn’t take care of myself. I wouldn’t wear my seat belt all the time, I had the worst possible diet, and at times would I would even skip showering.

Addiction negatively affects your self-perception, mood, motivation. and well-being. It can make you feel overwhelmed and bad about yourself, and at times it seems there is no way out.

When I finally got sober and had a significant number of clean days under my belt, I wasn’t sure what self-care meant anymore. I also internalized self-care as being “selfish”.  During my active addiction, I had been selfish for so long that the last thing I wanted to do was pay attention to the things that I needed.

I realize now that there is a huge difference between being selfish and taking care of yourself. What I learned was that you need to implement self-care when you get sober so that you can replace selfish, addictive behavior with healthy alternatives.

Once you are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it is common to use these addictive behaviors to cope with negative feelings. Some even use these addictive behaviors as a type of reward system for themselves.

During my active addiction, it got to the point where I would tell myself, “I worked all day today, so I deserve to get high.” Or “my boyfriend made me mad, so I can get high to make myself feel better.”

Now, instead of using all of my time to get high, I take care of myself. I work out, do art, get my nails done, and take time out of my day to just sit and think. By doing this, I can change my own thoughts about myself and my life.

Now, the more I take care of myself and the better I feel, the more I want to keep that feeling going. I also know that in order to keep this positive feeling going, I need to keep working on myself, help others and maintain my sobriety.  This self-growth is an important part of self-care.

When I was using, I couldn’t take care of myself, let alone help someone else. Now that I take time out for myself, I have more positive energy to help other people.

I’m a huge fan of self-care now, if you haven’t tried it, I would HIGHLY recommend it…you’re missing out!

 

-Samantha

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