This blog post, written by our Program Director and Life Coach, recently appeared at www.angeladmeyer.com.
When one of our loved ones is working through an addictive behavior, the focus seems to be on him and his problem. After all, he’s the one who made these destructive choices, so he’s the one who needs to deal with the consequences.
However, recovery is a joint process – a journey for everyone in the family.
We can’t help our loved one if we aren’t in a healthy place ourselves. As the airlines know, Momma can’t help the children unless she first grabs the oxygen mask for herself.
So how do we find ways for self-care while our loved one is going through recovery?
We first have to admit we are holistic people. Our physical selves affect our mental capabilities and our spiritual health affects our emotions.
So let’s look at each of these aspects:
Taking care of our physical selves will help us have the energy to deal with this difficult situation.
It’s important to make nutritious meals, to stay away from the sugars that cause brain fog and keep us from thinking clearly.
Exercise will release healthy endorphins and give us the endurance we need for this long recovery journey.
Sometimes taking care of ourselves physically also means doing some extra good things for our bodies: massage, yoga, a mani/pedi or a new haircut.
Making sure we’re in bed at a decent time with a solid eight hours of sleep will help us deal with whatever we face the next day.
If we feel better physically, then we can deal with the mental battle we face.
Keeping our brains healthy will enable us to make difficult decisions and set careful boundaries.
Nutrition does play a factor here. Including healthy herbs such as rosemary and turmeric can help keep our brains in working order.
Another way to increase self-care on the mental front is to have plenty of resources available. Research about his addiction helps us learn how to cope. Reading brochures, pamphlets or books about addictive behaviors increases our knowledge so we can make wise choices.
And taking the time to just read a good book will also refresh the brain. Angela’s Meyer’s 1st book, “Where Hope Starts” and the new one, “Where Healing Starts” are great examples of good books that also teach important points about addiction and recovery. Check out her books at: www.angeladmeyer.com.
Remember this maxim: whatever is good for the heart is also good for the brain.
When we’re dealing with recovery, we experience a bucket full of emotions. Shame, regret, false-guilt, sadness, rejection, anger…to name just a few.
It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and realize it’s okay to be sad or mad. God made us emotional creatures, so when we feel these things – that means we’re being authentic.
But how can we deal with them? We need to honestly grieve what has happened to us and to our family. It may help to journal through the emotions or share with a good friend how you feel.
And counseling can also help. At GateWay of Hope, we offer counseling, coaching and support groups to help women deal with the difficult emotions of recovery.
As we take care of ourselves emotionally, we begin to heal and find that sacred place inside that needs God’s touch.
Many women who have journeyed through recovery with an addicted spouse recognize their true Husband and Maker is God (Isaiah 54:5). He is the one who will never reject them, never fail them and never abandon his covenant with them.
It’s possible to grow spiritually even while going through the consequences of a husband’s betrayal. And with God’s help, we can become stronger each day and eventually share what we have learned with others.
How do we make certain that self-care includes the spiritual aspect?
Stay deeply dependent on God. Trust him with all your heart. Tell him exactly how you feel, because he feels your emotions anyway.
Share prayer requests with your most trusted friends – those who will keep your requests confidential yet will pray for daily encouragement.
Spend extra time with God’s word and journal about what God tells you. The Psalms are a wonderful place to camp.
Be willing – in time – to consider forgiveness. This is a process and only God can teach us how to forgive those deep wounds. But if we’re at least willing to learn about forgiveness and to step forward in that direction, God will teach us how to release the pain.
As you’re going through this scary and difficult journey, take care of yourself. God still has a good plan for your life and you want to be healthy when he reveals it.
©2016 RJ Thesman