Be Good to Yourself

Many of us recovering alcoholics are perfectionists and we are also our own worst critic. Indeed, having gone through the rehab experience and examined my character in great depth. I firmly believe that the route cause of my alcoholism lies in my lifelong struggle to be perfect and to judge myself harshly when I failed. I certainly cannot point at an unhappy childhood, difficult life or bad experiences in order to explain my alcoholism – it was something within me that led me to use drink in the end as a form of escapism.

Often Find it Difficult to be Good to Yourself

Back to the title of this article – we often find it difficult to be good to ourselves. We totally understand that others recovering from illness might need a period of recuperation but for us alcoholics, we feel the guilt and shame of our addiction and consider ourselves undeserving of sympathy or pampering. When we had hangovers we neither thought ourselves deserving of sympathy and nor usually did we receive it.

As perfectionists, we often set ourselves unattainable goals and beat ourselves up when we cannot achieve them. Then we get fed up, frustrated and depressed and punish ourselves for being less than perfect. However, we should not expect miracles of ourselves.

Treat Our Bodies Well

We need to remember in our early days that we might not be as physically fit and well as we would like to be. Years (probably) of drinking too much will have taken their toll on our bodies and we need to treat them well to help them recover. We will make amazing strides in the early weeks but sometimes all will not be back to ‘normal’ for several months (if ever).

We need to be thankful for the amount of time we have been sober and treat ourselves occasionally. Maybe we can spend some of the money we are no longer spending on alcohol on some new clothes, a new hairstyle, a manicure, some music, a book we like, a trip out etc?

How Far we Have Come

We need to look at how far we have come: how many days now is it since we last had a drink? Have we done the best we can today and stayed sober? Even if we are not perfect (and no one is) look at how far you have come! Enjoy the things you can now appreciate that have come with your sobriety: a good night’s sleep; waking up in the morning without the guilt and shame you used to feel every morning about your recent drinking activities (or lack of them); not hurting our loved ones; appreciating the weather, the seasons, the sunrise, the sunset, the moon….

We can now enjoy all the things we thought we needed to drink to enjoy – a good meal, the company of friends, a holiday…. We deserve it and we are not selfishly indulging ourselves, we are being good to ourselves to protect our sobriety. Go for it!

The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions. It follows the Twelve Step Programme of recovery. Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.