“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” - Walt Whitman
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” – Walt Whitman

Each year, Valentine’s Day delivers emotions that can endanger sobriety. Early in recovery, many relationships remain damaged, some severely, from actions taken in addiction. The shame and self-loathing that results from grieving over past infractions can overtake you, even define you – if you let it. Recovery can save you from that fate. Here are a few practices to begin the self-love journey:

ACCEPTANCE

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change, and wisdom to know the difference.” In recovery, acceptance equates to being satisfied with yourself – just as you are. Regardless of past actions or behaviors, your work to find and live in recovery requires that you accept who you are, where you are. It can ease the burden of regret and the anxiety of future worries, freeing you from shame and guilt that prevent you from loving yourself fully.

BOUNDARIES

For people in recovery, existing relationships can be primary drivers of sobriety or relapse. Those we surround ourselves with have a significant impact on our overall health. Often, we must terminate toxic relationships to ensure success on the road to recovery, specifically early in the journey.

COMPASSION

At the beginning of recovery, you learn to love your authentic self, to embrace self-compassion not self-indulgence. Valley Hope specializes in making patients feel loved from the moment they walk in the door. We specialize in compassionate care. The gift of compassion motivates us to go out of our way to help the physical, mental or emotional pains of others but it also ensures that we practice self-care as needed.

SELF CARE

A big part of learning to love yourself naturally evolves from intentional self-care. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough rest and staying active or exercising daily. Meditation and relaxation techniques are also important practices that enhance self-care.

GRATITUDE

What about those deep in feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness? The good news is that gratitude can feed self-love and it can be developed and strengthened over time. Start your day in gratitude. Reserve five minutes each morning to offer appreciation while you enjoy a cup of coffee, head out for an early run or even after you hit the snooze button. Keep it simple or more profound, but make sure to start each morning in thankfulness, including being thankful for YOU, and set the tone for the day.

SHARE THE LOVE

Self-love should also be love in action. In recovery, the brain begins to heal and as it heals, with practice, selfishness and other damaging attitudes begin to fade away. Replacing selfishness with intentional service to others by volunteering, charitable giving and even supporting others in recovery can build your self-worth and self-love.

As you begin to rebuild your life in sobriety, the most important relationship you must build lies within – you must first learn to love yourself.