Self-Care is not Selfish: The Importance of Self-Care When Getting Clean and Sober

Many argue that addiction is a societal disease, driven by the endless compulsion for more, and by action based on feelings of lack. One perspective is that addiction is worsened by an imbalanced drive to consume, achieve, conquer. 

While energies of desired progress are by no means unhealthy in and of themselves, when they replace balance, and ignore the quiet internal nudge for health and well-being, there tends to be suffering, and addiction, in various forms. 

We all have a subtle internal guidance system that urges us on to greater fulfillment; to move in forward motion toward our true intentions, and healthy balance. Many of us lose touch with this guidance, especially in addiction, as substances replace self-care: Uppers giving energy to keep up, downers lulling us from over-stimulation, social buffers creating extroversion where we might otherwise be called to take solitude and look inwardly. 

How can addicts and alcoholics, and family members caught up in unhealthy family dynamics, reach for any sort of new patterns in a momentum of wayward guidance? When selfish survival has taken over, how can we recognize the healthier side of selfishness that is present in self- care? How can we begin to prioritize aspects of life that are truly nourishing- that gradually become a sufficient substitute for the temporal illusions of relief that substances once provided? 

In addiction, we learn to give at all the wrong times, take in excess, defend our weaknesses, and bury our strengths in self-deprecation. Some of us may hold on to remnants of healthy living, a ploy to uphold an empty image for denial’s sake, or a fight from our highest intentions, reaching for rescue in the midst of a sinking ship. 

There is rescue in self-care. Self-care is self-Love. Where there is Love, nothing is too much trouble. In Love’s absence, the mere act of existence can feel like too much trouble. 

It takes time to recalibrate; to gradually introduce a more balanced routine of self-care. At Oasis Recovery, we recognize the value of immersing yourself in an environment in which self- care is fully supported, where you can experience being removed from the unconscious day- to-day habits of an addicted life, and be encouraged and led to implement the following helpful self-care practices: 

-Healthy eating -Quality sleep, at optimal times -Meditation, Spiritual inquiry -Exercise -Pursuit of Hobbies/Interests -Productivity -Lots of rest -Social engagement with uplifting people -Solitude 

These are just a few of the elements that constitute a healthy self-care regime. And coming from active addiction, it’s important to have the support to implement all this self-care gradually, and with plenty of compassion, or you run the risk of slipping into old patterns and old self-destructive habits of thought and behavior. 

Often, at first, it feels like sacrifice: the conditioned, addicted brain screaming resistance into the sludge of forced obligation. But gradually, there is ease, and gradually, there is relief. One day at a time there is a new momentum set in motion. One day at a time, there are new responses to life being solidified. With accountability, a supportive therapeutic environment, and lots of practice, the art of a life in balance begins to emerge, and the hope for conscious living, free from addiction, becomes a reality. 

If you are struggling with addiction and would like effective treatment, with lots of self-care support, click here. If your loved one is suffering from addiction and needs treatment, with plenty of self-care support, click here. 

For a first-hand account from Oasis Recovery’s case manager, on her role in helping support clients’ self-care, click on the video below to learn more.


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