Self love is key in sobriety, so is self respect and self care but what exactly does this mean and how do you go about showing yourself love and making self care part of your every day life? When I first quit drinking, I had no clue about this. I thought it was all manicures, massages and drinking fancy teas.
It took me a long time to understand why self love is key in sobriety and beginning the process of showing myself some love took even longer. I felt guilty and unworthy even after the alcohol had gone.
When I was drinking, I really didn’t like myself very much, sure most of the time I was okay with how I looked, felt, the kind of mum I was and the person I was but something deep down inside was telling me I could do better. These feelings of self hate and low self confidence would usually pop up in the middle of the night when I would wake up feeling panic, shame and regret about drinking again.
I hated the fact that I put my drinking before my kids which you can read about in this blog post, hated that I was bloated, overweight, lethargic, lacking in energy, motivation and a passion for life. I had very little respect for myself and would often go for days without showering or washing my hair, I didn’t eat properly and any notion I had about going to bed early or relaxing with a book just went out of the window.
I felt I didn’t deserve to be nice to myself because I was drinking and that was, you know, my treat. I certainly didn’t love myself.
Slowly after finally quitting drinking did I begin to realize that actually, self love is key to sobriety and if I was going to get the most out of my new found lifestyle choice, I was going to have to learn to love myself again, that was a difficult prospect and something I am still working on and will continue to do so.
Self love and self respect is key in sobriety because if you are not there for yourself and don’t love and believe in yourself, then it can be difficult to see why you are making this choice and keep going when things get tough.
Change comes from within and indeed, included in our basic human needs along with food, shelter, security and social connection, are self love, self respect and self esteem. In order to really thrive and be happy we must learn to value ourselves, accept and love ourselves for who we are.
This can be a tricky concept to grasp and an even trickier thing to do, but when you can truly connect with yourself and learn to love you for you, powerful changes begin to occur and you begin to discover who you really are, find an inner strength and sense of pride.
The journey to self love can be slow and difficult but in order to help you get there, there are some simple things you can do every single day to make yourself feel good.
Believe in yourself
This is crucial to your success and helping to shush your inner critic. Start every day with a few moments of reflection and choose a positive affirmation or mantra which will lift you up and keep you going throughout the whole day. Write it down or print it off and keep it close for when you need a boost. You can do this, you just need to believe it!
Get outside and move your body
You might be tired of hearing this but really there is nothing more inspiring and nourishing to the soul than being in nature. Exercise and being outdoors have strong connections to mood so if you are feeling down and want to give yourself a boost, then go for a walk and just enjoy the natural beauty all around you. You will feel immediately better about yourself, I promise.
Be with the people who mean the most to you
Spending time with people you love and who love you for who you are is essential. It is so important to feel valued and connected so choose your people wisely and don’t spend time with those who will bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Support and true connection is vital in sobriety and to making you feel good about yourself so have coffee with friends, meet virtually or in real life and do something nice. If you have an urge to isolate then make sure you reach out for support.
Make time for you
Whether your idea of heaven is curling up with a good book, relaxing in the bath, quiet meditation, or walking your butt of while listening to some uplifting music, you must make the effort to schedule time for yourself every day. This was my biggest struggle, I felt guilty and felt that I always had to be busy. But you must take a moment (or few) to check in with yourself, have a rest, connect with what you love and let’s face it get a bit of peace and quiet!
In the early days of sobriety, loads of uncomfortable feelings and emotions can pop up which is difficult to deal with. It is important to let go of these insecurities, feelings of self doubt and self hate that have been keeping you stuck. Releasing the shame and guilt and your negative emotions can be done by simply writing in a journal, having some EFT therapy or talking to someone you know and trust to help you through. If you were physically ill, you would go to the doctor so why should your mental wellbeing be any different? Keeping negative feelings and thoughts inside will do you no good. Let it go and begin to embrace the love instead of pain.
Finally, this wonderful, life changing journey you are on is the most loving and kindest thing you can do for yourself. Always remember that and embrace it with joy, love and self compassion. Celebrate every moment of finally freeing yourself from this cycle of self hate, shame and regret. Choose love instead – you deserve it x