One of the greatest benefits of sobriety for me has been that I have become comfortable in my own skin. I love my own company and I am often content by myself. Learning to fly solo in recovery can allow you to find yourself, enjoy your new-found freedom, and give you permission to take care of yourself. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to be happy first and foremost.
Even if you have the best relationship in the world, you still need to be happy with yourself. And odds are, if you aren’t happy with yourself, your relationship isn’t as great as it could be. There is something super powerful about finding yourself in recovery. Truly finding yourself and discovering who you are without a substance is euphoric. For a lot of us, drinking or drugging had become so much of our identity that we lost or never really discovered who we are. I know that once I got a few months of recovery under my belt and began experiencing life in real terms, I realized that I had stunted my mental growth. I was basically a 34-year-old who still had the maturity and mindset of a 21-year-old. My addiction problems really began in my early to mid-twenties, so lost a good 10+ years of growth and discovery about myself. Those are some pretty fucking important years of your life. If you are into sports, those are basically the years that a professional athlete is considered in their prime. Not that I was going to be a pro athlete by any means, but I missed a prime time period of my life.
Once you begin to find yourself, you can begin to enjoy true freedom in your life. Being content by yourself is true freedom. Going out by yourself and feeling confident in yourself is true freedom. And no one says that freedom is overrated. I’m not talking about freedom from jail, yeah, that’s pretty amazing but freedom from substances and consequences is real freedom. I no longer have to feel like I’m missing out on something if I’m not out partying every night. I no longer feel like I have to do something. I do things now because I want to do them. Once I broke out of that cycle of not being controlled by substances, I stopped tolerating things I did not like. There was no longer a substance to numb my feelings of un-satisfaction or discontent. And sober me doesn’t like those feelings, so I get motivated to change my circumstances. I now have the power of freedom. I now can do something about situations I do not like instead of getting drunk or high and forgetting about them for a while. I have broken the cycle of repetition and monotony.
As you find yourself and begin enjoying real freedom, you learn how to take care of yourself. I remember being told in one of the first rehabs that I went to that I am allowed to be selfish in my recovery. Though I didn’t really understand what that meant at the time, I knew being selfish was something I could do. I have learned the art of self-care. Self-care is a huge part of recovery. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you will slip. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t fully make yourself available to others. The first step in self-care is awareness. Awareness of how you are truly feeling. Recognizing that you are not balanced. Once you realize the problem, then you can take action. Take a step back and get yourself re-grounded. If you ignore your own personal needs, the irritation will build up and eventually overflow into a negative action. Self-care looks different for everyone. You are unique and need to find what works best for you. For me, self-care is time by myself doing something relaxing. Exercise makes me feel better. Journaling and writing are my favorite form of self-care. Doing something creative is self-care. Working on my blog, website, social media, and range of recovery-related projects is enjoyable for me. Learning something new or challenging my knowledge or view of a belief I have is positive personal growth for me. Taking a drive, watching YouTube videos, and taking in a sporting event are all forms of self-care for me. You can do a search and find literally hundreds of self-ideas if you are struggling to find some of your own.
What are your favorite forms of self-care? What do you do now that you’re sober that you didn’t do for yourself before? Or, what could you do for yourself if you weren’t still using a substance? I wanted to purposely rant about how great finding yourself, enjoying freedom, and experiencing self-care are in this post because I find too many people in recovery are missing out on this simple joy that is free of charge. It doesn’t cost a thing to just calm yourself down and truly enjoy your own company. It takes some work to get to that point but the reward is more than I can describe. Being free, comfortable, and confident is the best gift that sobriety has given me.
As always, please like, comment, and share this post if you enjoyed it. I am in the habit of posting nearly every day now and with your support, I can continue to spread the message of OWN Sobriety and reach others who are struggling on this path.