How to Practice Self-Care During Alcohol Addiction Recovery
When you are addicted to alcohol, it becomes the priority and focus of your daily life. So when you shift your focus to alcohol addiction recovery and living a sober lifestyle, taking care of yourself is extremely important. Otherwise, your efforts to overcome addiction can be thwarted by the everyday demands of life, putting you at risk for relapse.
Self-care in alcohol recovery is essential to ensuring you are mentally and physically supported during Self-care in recovery is essential to ensuring you are mentally and physically supported during active recovery and far into the future. You can do several things to proactively help yourself before you feel out of control and reach for a drink.
The critical thing to remember is that recovery is a journey, not a destination. Learning how to practice self-care in recovery will bolster your ability to stay strong in the addiction battle for the rest of your life.
The Importance of Self-Care in Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Self-care in recovery is vital in many ways, as it is essential in supporting your overall well-being so you can sustain a healthy, sober lifestyle. Self-care is vital while in recovery for the following reasons:
- It supports your physical health. Addiction takes a toll on your body. But when you get into the habit of practicing regular self-care, including exercise, a healthy diet, and proper sleep, you can help your body heal from the damage alcohol has on your physical body.
- It helps with emotional regulation. Recovering from addiction often involves many challenging and intense emotions like anxiety, stress, and depression. Practicing self-care exercises such as meditation, mindfulness, and therapy during recovery can effectively fight against those challenging emotions.
- It helps reduce stress. Overcoming addiction isn’t easy. (But it’s entirely worth it!) Many temptations and stressors will come your way during your recovery journey. But practicing self-care during recovery can arm you with healthy tools and strategies for reducing stress – without alcohol.
- It increases self-awareness. Most self-care practices involve some self-reflection, which, in turn, can lead to greater self-awareness. With increased self-awareness, you are better able to recognize and understand your triggers, vulnerabilities, and needs so you can make better choices in your recovery journey.
- It enhances self-esteem and self-worth. Addiction often erodes your self-esteem and self-worth, which isn’t helpful during recovery. Regular self-care practices can promote personal growth, self-confidence, and the development of a positive self-image.
- It helps prevent relapse. Taking care of yourself through self-care in alcohol addiction recovery promotes ongoing, continuous sobriety.
Ideas for Practicing Self-Care During Recovery
Genuinely understanding what self-care in alcohol addiction recovery looks like may seem like a vague concept. We’ve broken up self-care practices into seven categories to help you better comprehend this idea of self-care in recovery and to give you some ideas on healthy self-care practices.
The little things in life, the practical things, can quickly get out of hand if neglected. Practical self-care includes ensuring your basic needs are met, and your most important responsibilities are taken care of. This includes things like:
- paying your bills or ensuring your finances are taken care of
- ensuring you have (healthy) food on the table
- keeping a tidy home
- maintaining a calendar to keep track of your responsibilities
As mentioned above, alcohol addiction can do a number on your physical body. That’s why, during recovery, it’s crucial to focus on taking care of your body so it can heal and thrive. Physical self-care means making healthy choices and practicing wholesome routines to keep your body in tip-top function. This can include things like:
- eating a proper diet
- exercising regularly
- having healthy sleep habits
- drinking plenty of water
- taking time off from work during recovery when needed
Complex emotions are some of the most challenging things you face during recovery. Guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression tend to rear their unwelcome heads when you are trying to overcome addiction. You can’t simply ignore or repress them. You have to deal with them healthily. This is emotional self-care. Some ways to practice emotional self-care include the following:
- practicing mindfulness to observe negative thoughts without letting them control you
- practicing positive self-talk and compassion to combat self-criticism
- journaling about your recovery and the benefits of being sober
- attending individual and group therapy sessions
You may think emotional and mental self-care are the same. While they are similar, there are some differences. While emotional self-care focuses on helping you process your challenging feelings, mental self-care focuses on stimulating your mind to promote growth and learning. Some ideas for practicing mental self-care include:
- listening to podcasts or self-help books that help you understand addiction, negative-thinking patterns, triggers, and the science behind recovery
- stimulating your brain through puzzles like sudoku, crosswords, and word searches
- subscribing to newsletters that will support your learning and your recovery efforts
Spiritual self-care looks different for everyone. It involves actively staying connected to your spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be. This could mean attending traditional worship and prayer services. Or it could mean you spend more time in nature. Some examples of spiritual self care include:
- practicing meditation, Qi Gong, or Tai Chi to connect with the energy in and around you
- saying regular prayers
- attending Bible studies or spiritual group meetings
- attending temple, church, or other religious ceremonies
You need a connection with others, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between. Humans are wired to be social creatures. While it may take a little more effort, connecting with others during your recovery is essential. It’s also important to note that saying “no” and holding healthy boundaries so you don’t overdo it is also a form of social self-care. Some helpful social self-care ideas include:
- going out with friends, family, or a partner regularly
- reaching out to estranged friends and family to make amends for any pain you may have caused during your addiction
- separating yourself from those who are still using
- avoiding long stretches of social isolation
The ultimate goal of professional self-care is to learn how to enjoy your job or career more and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Work stress is often a trigger for relapse, so it’s important to do what you can to achieve these goals. Some additional ideas for practicing professional self-care include the following:
- taking the time off you need under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) during detox and recovery
- setting healthy boundaries at work, like taking regular breaks and avoiding taking on too much work
- speaking with your supervisor about your gradual return to work if you need to take time off
There are so many things you can do to support your mental, emotional, and physical health during your addiction recovery. But you are the only one in charge of your self-care. Others can suggest and guide you, but you must commit to making self-care during recovery a priority so you can achieve sobriety success.
We’re Ready to Be a Member of Your Support Network at Our Alcohol Rehab in San Diego
Self-care is important for everyone. But during alcohol addiction recovery, it’s vital. Another vital aspect of achieving and maintaining a life of sobriety is partnering with a trusted provider for alcohol treatment in San Diego.
At BOLD Health, we offer several alcohol treatment options that can help you. Our experienced clinicians understand the value of self-care during recovery, as well as the value of effective treatment. That’s why we take the time to get to know and understand what makes you who you are and what alcohol treatment in San Diego best suits you and your needs.
Contact us to learn more about our alcohol rehab in San Diego and begin your journey to a new, sober you, armed with an incredible support staff at BOLD Health and the understanding of the importance of self-care during recovery.