Sunday, February 14th, 2021. As Valentine’s Day approaches–the day of romance, roses, poetry, and kisses–some will celebrate, some will be annoyed, and some will feel lonely.
Valentine’s Day as an Inspiration
But despite the corniness, the Hallmark cards, the chocolate assortments, and the stress of dining at any restaurant without a reservation made far in advance, Valentine’s Day inspires us to think about love and what it truly means.
For everyone, single or partnered, love entails a balance of surrender and independence: we build relationships and friendships by allowing some level of emotional interdependence and vulnerability even as we nurture and preserve our unique identities. In this type of love, the feelings of comparisons, expectations, and failure that Valentine’s Day might evoke have no place.
So what does love have to do with recovery from addiction?
Sobriety & Love
Sobriety requires love: love of life, love of other people, and, most importantly, love of self. Loving yourself is not selfish. Like a relationship with another person, a relationship with yourself is based on a balance of accepting your vulnerabilities while also nurturing your own growth. When you love and respect yourself, you make choices that support your health and well-being. When you love and respect yourself, you are a better friend, lover, and partner.
Easier said than done, right? So how can you begin to learn how to treat yourself gently, with compassion, and respect? We provide for you below some ideas for practicing self-care.
- Prioritize your physical health.
We are all caregivers in some way, and you provide better care to others when you first care for yourself. Addiction broke down your health. Now it’s time to rebuild it. What doctor’s recommendations have you been ignoring? What diet change have you been reluctant to implement? What will help you get excited about a regular exercise routine? Taking care of the body builds strength, energy, and the ability to more easily handle life’s challenges.
- Forgive yourself.
In addiction, we lose ourselves, and we often damage relationships. It can be hard in recovery to face yourself and forgive that past self who was so lost. You can start by taking baby steps toward self-forgiveness. Continue to work with a therapist to change negative thinking patterns of self-judgment. Resolve every day to set aside guilt and shame and to replace them with gratitude. Continue to nurture yourself and to nurture the relationships that matter to you.
- Develop a talent, skill, or interest.
We are all creative beings, and we all have unique talents and interests. Now is the time to start exercising your creativity. Creative work/play takes you out of your routine and out of the typical thoughts and feelings you get stuck in. Draw someone’s portrait, write a poem, choreograph a dance to your favorite song–it doesn’t have to be good. In fact, you might get a good laugh out of your attempts. Creativity comes in many forms. Find something you enjoy doing and do it regularly.
Check out this interactive exercise that will help you cultivate self-love. Maybe this Valentine’s Day can be the beginning of your journey toward loving and respecting yourself.
We Can Help
If you are struggling with substance use or addiction, the best way to show love and respect for yourself is to get treatment. Let our professional, caring team at Great Oaks give you the tools and support you need to start your journey toward health and wellness.