Putting Yourself First

One of the hardest aspects in a recovering life is practicing self care and putting yourself first.  For many of us, we have tremendous guilt for our use and past behaviors; we have been told, and often feel, how selfish we became in our active addiction.

We compound that guilt when we enter into recovery, especially if we have entered into a costly and time consuming detox and treatment program.  For many of us, there was no alternative other than detox and treatment; for many of us, that option was not available and we did this on our own, but regardless of the doorway we entered from and the hallways we traversed to where we are now, we are here, now, in recovery.

Often, family, children and loved ones who have not traveled our path expect everything to go back to a normal, or a ‘before the addiction’- but this isn’t possible because we really are a changed person now.  Before the addiction, we were cucumbers.  Now we are pickles, and can never go back to being a cucumber.  We have life experiences, knowledge and more than a few emotional and physical scars that we never had before.  We are (hopefully) wiser, stronger, yet pretty raw from the journey.  We won’t make the same choices we did in the past.

Our daily routines of waking, cooking, chores, jobs and school are all now viewed through a different perspective- a new lens.  We have made changes already-who we hang out with, who we talk to, where we go.  The life we had still needs us-but this new you may not have all of the tools to function in both worlds:  our recovery world and our daily living world.  We have damages to face, the consequences of our using, in addition to the rebuilding of trusts.

It can feel, and often is, overwhelming, and in the chaos of the reconstruction, the first casualty is usually ourselves.   We almost without fail, begin neglecting us.  We take the back seat to the other million details of daily life.

We put off a quiet moment in the wee hours before everyone else wakes to prepare lunches for the kids and do a load of laundry.   We put down our journal to feed the cat or let out the dog.  We skipped a meeting because the timing interfered with our turn at the car pool.  We start saying ‘yes’ to others while we say ‘no’ to us.  We start to subconsciously build resentments.  We are like a soda-pop bottle that is capped and shaken.  And shaken.  And shaken some more.

Pretty soon, they surface, those resentments, and the old enemy of addiction has risen his snakey head, whispering lies once again.

Recovery is hard-probably the hardest job you will ever do.  And it is never OK to neglect yourself in recovery.  Never.  Because everything you do, everything you want, everything you need, depends on you and your recovery.  You are the cornerstone of your life and recovery.

Without you, nothing will happen with you.  Someone else will make the kid’s lunches.  Someone else will drive the car pool.  Someone else will do the chores.  Somebody else will go to school or work.  Somebody else will live the life you fought so hard to get back.

Your new life as a recovering person depends on your ability to care for the one person in your life who can do that.  That one person is you.  So how do you ‘do you’?

You Prioritize You.

As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams…T