You made it through the detox and are making progress in your recovery from addiction. But at times, an incredible guilt fills you up and you wonder if you will ever be that carefree person you used to be. You feel guilty because you hurt people while you were using. You feel guilt over the financial burden you have put on the people you love. Chances are you started using because there was something about yourself you didn’t like very much and maybe some of that pain still lingers. Memories keep coming back, and you get a sinking feeling in your gut. How are you supposed to stay clean and sober and deal with all of these feelings?
To keep from going back to alcohol or drugs, you must replace your old habits with better ones. You need to find positive habits that build you up. But more than that, you need some practices that remind you that there is good inside of you. Start by remembering better times and telling yourself that you are a good and happy person. Practice self-love habits. There are many healthy habits you can create that will foster feelings of love and self-forgiveness in you.
Addiction Recovery Physical Self-Love Practices
- Eat Healthy
Getting the excess fat and sugar out of your diet can relieve feelings of sluggishness. You also get the obvious effect of looking better. When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you make better choices.
Boredom is a recovering addict’s worst enemy. Spending time walking, running, or working out at a gym can help occupy your time. Exercising is a productive way to improve your thinking. Exercise causes your body to release feel-good hormones. A lot of emotions and frustrations can be released during exercise.
Mental Self-Love Practices
Mindfulness is a good practice to improve yourself mentally and spiritually. Being aware of your inner dialogue is important. People have a tendency to play out every mistake they have ever made. They think about the “should of’s” and the “if only’s” of every situation. This keeps bad thoughts fresh in your mind. You can’t change the past.
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Stop that line of thought by saying “stop” out loud or just a “no” under your breath. Replace the thought with an observation about something that you see, or something that is happening, right now. The more you recognize useless thinking, and practice this technique to get rid of it, the easier it becomes. After a while, you find you are having fewer and fewer thoughts about the past.
Clean Living Spiritual Self-Love Practices
Anyone can practice meditation. You do not have to have any particular spiritual beliefs to enjoy it. Meditation consists of sitting in a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed. You can sit up straight in a chair, or in a simple cross-legged position on the floor. During this time, mentally retreat into your body. Focus on your breathing. If any thoughts cross your mind, acknowledge them, but don’t get caught up in them. Don’t judge them. Just release them. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t go without thoughts. Most people can’t. That is why it is called practicing meditation. You will get better at it and recognize more benefits the longer you do it.
Yoga classes are a helpful way to improve your meditation practice. Additionally, yoga can help you become more disciplined in both body and mind. Modern science is finding many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to having a regular yoga practice.
Recovery Community Self-Love Practices
- 12 Step Meetings
Don’t stay lost in your head for too long. You need social interaction too. Be around other people that are healthy for you. Attend 12 step meetings regularly. Reach out to others and find new, wholesome friendships.
Volunteering is an excellent way to help build your feelings of self-love. Spending time in service to others helps you to give back, and creates a sense of gratitude and positivity that many former substance abusers find lacking in their lives. You can also become active in a church that meets your spiritual needs.
These are just a few activities you can do to increase your self-esteem and self-love. If you live in a small town or rural area, don’t worry, there are still activities for you. You can practice making lists of your positive qualities and the things for which you are grateful. You can find an online 12 step group. You can find instructional videos for meditation and yoga on YouTube.
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Don’t worry if you can’t do everything. As you can see with the list above, most activities can help you in more than one area of your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out and try new things. Don’t limit yourself by trying to find something that is a perfect fit.
This is your opportunity to start over and make a new you. A better ‘you.’ A ‘you’ that makes you proud.