A common theme many of us share is our tendency to prioritize other addicts in our lives over ourselves. Their struggles become our main concern. We’re more worried about their wellbeing, or lack thereof, than our own. We give them the majority of our time, attention and energy and sacrifice our own needs. We do ourselves a huge disservice and stall our healing when we neglect ourselves for the other addicts in our lives.
When we’re consumed with caring for others, we often neglect our own needs and let their addictions take priority over everything else. We take selflessness to dangerous levels where our physical, mental and emotional health are sacrificed. We are often struggling with our own addictions and mental health issues, but the crises of other people might seem more pressing or urgent, perhaps they are using at more dangerous levels or are dependent upon us, so we neglect our own healing to focus on them. We might lose sleep or have trouble eating because of the stress. We might have worsened anxiety and depression. We might retreat further into our addictive behaviors to cope.
Recovery asks that we find a balance between caring for other people and caring for ourselves. When we aren’t healthy, whole and complete within ourselves, we don’t have very much to give to others. We end up running on empty, causing ourselves considerable mental, emotional and physical damage, even experiencing breakdowns in our health. It isn’t selfish to focus on our own healing. When we are in a healthier place, we can take much better care of ourselves, and we naturally have much more to offer others. We can provide a great example of self-care and self-love to the other people in our lives.
Start to tell yourself that taking care of yourself is better for both you and your loved ones who are struggling. We have to prioritize our own wellbeing if we don’t want to cause ourselves more damage. Self-care is important and carving out time for it is better in the long run for everyone involved. Neglecting ourselves sends the damaging message to the other people in our lives that we don’t matter, that our needs aren’t important, that we should aspire to selflessness even when it hurts us. This actually doesn’t serve us or our loved ones. Instead, it reinforces our cycles of self-destructiveness.
Self-care is an important lesson to learn in recovery. We can help. Call (800) 871-5440.