How To Do Self-Care During Recovery

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.

rjt - 2013 picWe 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:

Physical

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.

Mental 

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.

Emotional

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.

Spiritual

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

6 Words to Avoid

number 6The voices in our heads often determine the actions we take, and while the voices may point us in right directions – sometimes they whisper words we need to avoid.

What are some of these negative words – specifically the SIX words we need to avoid?

What If …

The “What-If” questions are usually based on fear.

  • What if I don’t get the job?
  • What if he leaves me?
  • What if it’s cancer?

Some of these “What if” questions are valid responses to a circumstance in our lives. But sometimes we allow those “What If” questions to keep us from something good.

We respond to the fear generated by the “What-Ifs.”

  • What if I want to move to a new place but I’m afraid of taking the risk?
  • What if I need to see a Counselor or a Coach but I don’t want to be vulnerable?
  • What if I want to try a different job? What if it doesn’t work out?

For many of our “What-If” questions, just taking a step forward might answer the question. Most of the time, the things we fear never happen. And even if they do, we may discover more strength and faith than we ever imagined possible.

The next time you hear yourself asking “What if,” stop and examine your situation. Maybe it’s time for a change in your life that careful planning and an accountability partner can help you figure out.

What’s another word to avoid?

But …

This is such a tiny word, but it wields incredible power in our lives. The “but” response may also be based in fear, but often it’s just another way to make an excuse.

  • But I don’t want to marry again because I’m afraid he’ll hurt me just like the last guy.
  • But I’m not sure a job change is the best direction for me right now.
  • But I can’t make enough money if I really follow my passion.

If we allow too many “buts” in our lives, we may never accomplish the things we were designed to do. Or we may live our lives doing only the necessary and urgent things rather than really living the abundant life.

The “buts” of life are easy excuses and usually not valid reasons why we should make an attempt or risk something.

We can talk ourselves out of anything just by using the “but” word.

Instead, we can make a list of all the positive possibilities that might come from a particular choice and take one step at a time.

Again, it helps to have an accountability partner to help us sort through the reasons and/or excuses we’re using that keep us stuck. Partnering with a coach at GateWay of Hope can help you get unstuck and move forward.

What are the last three words to avoid?

I Should Have …

These three words have possibly caused more damage to women than any other types of verbiage. We constantly guilt ourselves with the “I should haves.”

  • I should have married someone else.
  • I should have finished my education before I had children.
  • I should have used my inheritance for more retirement savings.
  • I should have kept Mom in my home instead of moving her to a nursing home.
  • I should have stopped after one cookie.

The reason to avoid these three words are because they are based on regret and often – false guilt. They keep us from moving forward because once we are listening to the “I should haves” then we replay them into the mindset of regret.

When we constantly guilt ourselves for a past decision, we begin hating ourselves and our lives. We no longer live with joy nor can we find that abundant life we’re looking for.

The truth is:

  • Life is filled with opportunities to make a mistake.
  • We can learn best from our mistakes.
  • Our mistakes often strengthen us and give us the wisdom we need for the next choice.
  • We cannot undo the past; we only have today and this particular moment.
  • Nobody is perfect and nobody makes perfect decisions all the time.

So…stop guilting yourself. You did the best you could at the time with the information you had then. You can’t go back and undo anything. Learn from it and move forward. Stop living in regret.

These powerful six words can make a difference in our lives. So let’s avoid thinking about or speaking about the “What Ifs,” “Buts,” and “I Should Haves.”

Instead, let’s find something to be grateful for today and enjoy being the women God made us to be.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women