You have had a long day at work and you get home, throw your purse on the counter and kick off your shoes. A sigh of relief to finally be home and able to relax from a stressful day at work. You open the fridge and grab the Pinot Grigio. A nice glass of wine to take the edge off and to begin the night. What was supposed to be a glass turned into the entire bottle, you make your way to your bedroom, stumbling into walls and having to pause so you don’t fall over. Screw taking a shower and who brushes their teeth anyway. You fall into bed still in your work clothes.
The next morning when you wake up you roll to your nightstand and reach for the aspirin that you keep in the drawer. Realizing it’s out you fling yourself back over and close your eyes. This is the 7th day in a row that you have drank an entire bottle of wine. You feel miserable. Your head is pounding and your mouth is dry like the Sahara desert. The self deprecating thoughts begin to creep in. You are a failure, a loser, ugly, dumb and nobody could ever love you. You hate who you have become. You hate that the person you see in the mirror is unrecognizable. The person you see in the mirror hates themselves so much they will do anything to mask the pain.
Self-love and addiction go hand in hand. When I started to show myself love the need for drugs and food slowly began to drift away.
When someone asks you if you love yourself what do you say? Take a moment to grab a piece of paper and a pen. If you have a journal, even better! Write down the question and allow yourself the freedom to write from the heart. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as it’s from the heart and truthful. Learning to love yourself when you are in the midst of addiction is hard but not impossible. It takes daily work and I mean just that. There is no looking into the future. I want you to just focus on the present. I know how hard it is to find something that you love when you feel so horrible and if you can't find something I want you to call a family member or a very close friend and ask them what they love about you. Now, begin to write.
You will come to see that writing has become a part of my life. It is a very important outlet for me. I can say whatever I want in my journal without fear of judgement or rejection. That’s why I want you to get a journal if you don’t already have one. Your journal will become so important you find that you are buying purses or bags large enough to carry it. My current journal has a beautiful tree with a heart cut out in its trunk and a tiny village of fairies and unicorns living inside it. It sounds childish when I describe it, but it’s actually quite beautiful and it brings me joy. Plus having a beautiful journal will entice you to write in it more often.
What is self-love? If you google it you will find that self-love is regard for one’s own well-being and happiness- considered as desirable rather than narcissistic characteristics. If we dissect this even further what is well-being? The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. What is happiness? The state of being happy. Thank you google dictionary! So in order for us to have self-love we must be comfortable, healthy and happy. I don’t agree with this. I have a lot of self-love and at times I am unhappy, uncomfortable and not that damn healthy. What I do have is compassion for myself when I am not feeling my best. I am showing myself love when days are hard by allowing myself to feel my emotions not be my emotions. We all have the right to feel whatever we feel in any given moment but to allow that emotion to take control is to become that emotion, that will lead you down a dark path.
So, how do I begin to love myself?
It starts with the narrative in your head. It’s called ANTS- automatic negative thoughts. This acronym was developed to describe negative thought patterns of athletes but it can apply to anyone and everyone. What addicts have in common is some pretty intense negative thoughts about themselves. How do we begin to dismantle those thoughts? We challenge their authenticity.
Ex. Nobody will ever love me because I have nothing to offer anyone.
Challenge that thought - What can you bring to a relationship? How are you with your friends and family? Do you show up for them when they need you? What qualities do you have that make your friends love you?
Every negative thought that you have I want you to challenge it. I want you to take the negative sentence and turn it into a positive. With a few simple word switches I bet you will see that the thought was actually false. By doing this every time ANTS appears you will become a pro at recognizing your own negative thought patterns and will automatically be able to shift with ease.
Have you let your personal hygiene go?
When I was deep in my addiction and in my eating disorder I completely let go of my personal hygiene. I did not care about brushing my hair, dressing up, painting my nails or brushing my teeth. I felt so horrible on the inside I made sure everyone around me knew as well. It seems so small but the simple act of putting on clothes that make you feel beautiful will drastically change the way you feel about yourself. You will notice you stand a little taller. Your shoulders are back and you are smiling. When you look good you feel good and by this I mean when you look in the mirror you are proud of what you see. Someone who looks like they put effort into how they look. Their hair is nicely done, their clothes are clean and you can tell they feel confident by their ear to ear smile. I want you to make hygiene your number one self-love mission. If you need to go out and buy yourself a new outfit I give you full permission to do so. Go out and buy yourself some new shampoo and conditioner, something that smells really good to you. Go and pick out a new toothbrush. You might be thinking I'm overthinking this but I love a new, cute toothbrush every few months. It gets me excited about brushing my teeth. Have you been skipping shaving? Was shaving a part of your past that made you feel good? If so, buy you some disposable razors. They are just as good as most overpriced blade refill razors. Do you like to take baths? I love baths and I probably could stay in my bath all day but I still have to go to work. Now, if in 5 years I can work from home you better believe I’ll be writing from my bathtub. But, what I love about taking baths is it allows you time to slow down and give your body some much needed rest. The warm water from the bath is relaxing to muscles and if you add some Epsom salts it helps to reduce soreness and pain, reduce stress, soothe dry skin and much much more. While you are in there you might as well add some lavender bubbles. I really love the Dr. Teals foaming bath with pure epsom salt in the scent Soothe & Sleep. It has a very subtle lavender smell. You can purchase the matching Epsom salts as well.
These tasks are easy to most people but for us, learning to take care of ourselves needs to be top priority. Give your body the attention that it deserves. Your body has been longing for you to take care of it and show it love. In the beginning you might have to make a schedule so you can stick to your self-care plan. Set an alarm on your phone and name it something like, love and kindness hour. I want you to remember how important it is for you to take the time to care for your body. This is the journey to self love through the mess of addiction. Your addiction will tell you it doesn’t matter if you brush your teeth, because your addiction doesn’t care for you. Your addiction will tell you all kinds of lies and it is here that I hope to empower you to stomp those lies out and gain the courage you need to free yourself from it’s bonds.
You are not alone on this journey and you being here is showing the universe that you are ready for change and are willing to do whatever it takes to recover. Now, go take care of yourself! If you are feeling brave please share some photos of how you feel after your self-love hygiene routine and be sure to tag me in any photos. I also started a group on the Journey to Courage app and it is called the Courage Warriors. Come join me for a more private group setting where your safety and transformation are my top priorities.
I love you all!
Dare to dream big and shine bright,