Self-Care in Recovery

The Importance of Self-Care in Recovery

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(Part 2 in a 2-Part Series) 

As we discussed in last week's blog post, addicts often neglect personal hygiene and other matters relative to self-care. Whatever the underlying reasons, neglecting personal care comes naturally to many while they are in the throes of addiction. So, reversing the habit is crucial to recovery. In this, the second post in our two-part series, we discuss the ways that addiction undermines self-care and examine some tips for reversing the common habit of self-neglect in the journey to sobriety. 

Why Addicts Neglect Self-Care
MFI Recovery Center treats clients who have several combinations of co-occuring conditions, such as one of the most common dual diagnoses -- mental illness and addiction. The philosophical chicken-or-the-egg dilemma applies here, because clinicians sometimes struggle to understand which came first -- impaired mental health leading to addiction or drug use compromising the mental health of someone who was previously mentally sound. In any case, addicts often experience physical maladies resulting from prolonged drug or alcohol use: skin infections and lesions, tooth loss, Alopecia, eating disorders, impaired eyesight, disturbed sleep, tremors, and more. 

Why Self-Care Stops
While actively using, addicts lose sight of anything and everything that interferes with drug use...including bathing, showering, shaving, using deodorant, doing laundry, shopping, eating, combing their hair, brushing their teeth, and handling other daily necessities of life that non-addicted people manage without question. In last week's post, we covered five out of ten simple steps to take toward self-care as part of your recovery: 

  1. Sleep
  2. Eat
  3. Bathe
  4. Brush your teeth
  5. Exercise

This week let's conclude the series by focusing on five more. (Doing all ten will put you squarely on the road to recovery):

1. Keep appointments.

Addicts routinely skip scheduled appointments because going out takes time away from pursuing a high. What's more, most addicts live in fear their drug or alcohol abuse will be uncovered. As a result, many isolate themselves from family, friends, neighbors and doctors. Make and keep medical (and other) appointments. Prolonged drug and/or alcohol use compromises mind and body. Now that you have decided to get sober, give yourself the best possible chance for success. 

2. Get support.

Now that you've decided to re-engage, include supportive people in your daily life. Lean on close friends who have offered support. Studies show that people who conquer addiction with help stay sober longer than those who try to go it alone. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs studied males who were recovering from alcohol abuse. Approximately, 20-25 percent of those who did not attend a recovery meeting or aftercare program were abstinent from alcohol and drugs after one year. But the abstinence rate was nearly twice as high for those who attended a group program. 

3. Go outside.
Spending time outdoors feeds body and soul. Take every available opportunity to take in vitamin D. With time to kill now that your Drug of Choice (DOC) is no longer on the table, outside activity will help you pass the time. Mother was right; the fresh air will do you good. 

4. Take your meds.
Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. If your doctor has prescribed medication to help wean you off of drugs, or to address medical or emotional concerns, fill the prescription and take the pills as directed. 

5. Pray or meditate.
If your recovery included a 12-Step program, you were encouraged to acknowledge a Higher Power. Lean on that for psychological support and strength. Or just sit quietly and try to free your mind of worries, cares and concerns. A formal program, such as Yoga, could also help. According to U.S. News & World Report, 21 million Americans practice yoga, for physical as well as mental and spiritual health. Don%u2019t just get sober. Get a new lease on life! 

About MFI Recovery Center 
Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model, creating a personalized treatment program for each client. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596. 

Find hope, strength and freedom from addiction.
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