What Does Love Have to Do With Recovery?
Since Valentine’s Day is this month, I have been thinking about love. That word has several different meanings which include having an intense feeling of deep affection, having a great interest and pleasure in something or feeling deep affection for someone. Those meanings are generally thought of as feelings directed towards someone else. People sometimes think of the idea of self-love as implying ego or being self-absorbed and not caring about other people.
Something else important to remember is besides the extremes that do exist (e.g., black and white) thoughts (e.g., I am a failure versus I can figure out how to make this better) and feelings (e.g., I feel happy versus I feel satisfied) also occur to varying degrees. Although addiction is usually accompanied by behaviors which reflect self-absorbed and extreme ways of acting integrating self-love, thoughts and behaviors in a balanced way can facilitate the recovery process.
Recognizing that deciding to be in recovery is an acceptable way of loving yourself while also managing your thoughts can facilitate that journey. Incorporating self-discipline during your recovery will assist you to maintain consistent progress, help you to have peace of mind and you will no longer be controlled by the effects of addiction.
Addiction makes managing the different areas of your life (i.e., health, finances, personal attitudes, workplace and communication) difficult which can then adversely affect your recovery. For now we will consider how to use self-discipline to manage your health. Regardless of whether you have a substance use (e.g., alcohol, cocaine) or behavior related (e.g., gambling, shopping) addiction they both create distress that can eventually adversely affect your health. It isn’t uncommon for people to resort to behaviors that relieve the effects of the stress temporarily.
Self-discipline will help you manage your stress and prevent it from sabotaging your recovery. What you eat and using it as a quick fix can not only affect your health it can also influence the way you think. Instead of opting for a quick fix make a list of healthy foods, purchase and slowly integrate them into your everyday life. As you begin eliminating the unhealthy foods and start replacing them with better choices you will give your body the best chance to adapt to the change since sudden change can be difficult.
Loving yourself as well as maintaining balance in your thoughts and behaviors by using self-discipline will give you the best chance of maintaining your recovery as consistently as possible. It is important to remember that doing the best you can while not pressuring yourself to be perfect will allow you not only to manage any lapse or relapse you may experience but also will help you resume your recovery as quickly as possible. I believe in you and I encourage you to believe in yourself!
Alan Simberg Ph.D.
Alan Simberg, Ph.D. has been trained as a Life Mastery Consultant through Mary Morrissey’s Life Mastery Institute. He is certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition and is also a certified NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) practitioner. This background in combination with his being trained and licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Chemical Dependency Counselor and his 50 plus years of clinical experience have provided him with a wealth of knowledge and understanding.