It drives me crazy when I see alcohol marketed as a self-care necessity. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. I’m over 100 days alcohol-free now and feeling great but boy oh boy, did I ever neglect myself when I was drinking. I mean, I neglected pretty much everything when I was drinking, but self-neglect is definitely at the top of that list. I just plain didn’t care about myself. There’s no other way to put it. Showers? Nah. Those eat into valuable drinking time. Brushing my teeth? Not when I’m drinking until I pass out every night. Plus beer is gross after toothpaste. Eating? I guess. But food has a lot of calories, and I’ve got a lot of beer to drink. I’ll cross that bridge when the drunk munchies strike. You get the picture.
Learning genuine self care in early sobriety is not an easy thing if you’ve become accustomed to tending to your needs by drowning them in alcohol. The thing is, drinking alcohol is an act of self-neglect by its very nature. When a neglectful act becomes the most important thing in your life, additional neglect is bound to follow.
As I’ve been going through these first 100 days of my new Alcohol-Free journey, I have had to learn how to take care of myself all over again, and it has been wonderful. Showers are on top of the pile in my sobriety toolbox. When I’m really struggling with a craving, there is almost nothing better than just getting in the shower and feeling the hot water run down my body. It soothes me, and the alcohol voice is drowned out by the sound of the water hitting the tub. I love the way my mouth feels just after I brush my teeth. Don’t even get me started on food. I had forgotten how amazing food is. I highly recommend it.
One of the best things about self-care is that it looks different to different people. No one can tell you exactly how to take care of yourself because no one is exactly you. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy peel-off face masks, and skin care products in general. Not everybody does. I absolutely loathe running, but many people swear it makes them feel amazing. I love to get out of bed and meditate in the dark quiet of the early morning. I’m sure more than a few of you just read that and thought, “She must be crazy.” The end of Christmas day found me sitting in the recliner where I used to drink until I dropped, but instead of having a beer in my hand I had a mask on my face and my feet submerged in the bubbles of my new foot bath while my son looked on incredulously. I didn’t care. I was happy.
It doesn’t matter what you do to take care of yourself, all that matters is that you do it. The more love and care you show yourself, the more love and care you’ll have for yourself. The more love and care you have for yourself, the easier it is to keep taking care of yourself. You get the picture.
I’ve been thinking about some of the things that helped me when I started this sober journey. This is my A-Z of self-care in my first 100 days alcohol-free. Your list may look very different to mine- what would you add to my list? 🌈
A– Antihistamines- for those itchy scratchy times
B– B vitamins and Boom!
C– Chocolate/ cake/ cheese
D– Dreams, those drinking dreams can bite, but they are a reminder of hangovers from before.
E–Epsom salt baths
F– Forgive yourself for past mistakes related reading Shame, Alcohol and Sobriety
G– Great – day 1 or 21, you are doing a fabulous job by starting this journey
H– Housework, cleaning is a great distraction
I– Ice cream, sober sweet treat
J– Just don’t drink! Not easy but that’s what it boils down to. related reading I Don’t Drink
K- Keep alcohol out of your house if you can
L– L-Glutamine powder, laughter and love – let stuff go…. rebuild the future one day at a time, the past can’t be changed. Analyse it sure, but don’t regret or torture yourself with it
M– Money– no alcohol=more cash. I use a sober app to calculate savings made.
N– Non negotiable, don’t take that first sip related reading For Those Struggling to Stop Drinking : Overriding your survival instincts or Walking through the Ring of Fire
O– Opportunity- see sobriety as the chance to do things you only dreamed of when you were drinking.
P– Pamper yourself.
Q– Quiet– allow yourself some space and time to just “be”
R– Read– quit lit, blogs or your favourite genre related reading My Funny Mix-Match Recovery Discovery Quilt
S– Seretonin– sex, singing, swimming, whatever- release some feel good hormones related reading Breaking the Spell of Wine o’Clock
T– Tea, hot sweet tea
U– Understand you have an addiction related reading Alcoholic Analogy: Pickles and Cucumbers
V– Vent on Boom, it’s what it’s here for related reading Finding the Courage to be Vulnerable with an Online Alternative to AA
W– Walking, get some fresh air
X– “X” amine why you drink related reading How do You Know You Have a Problem With Alcohol? Is It Time to Stop Drinking ?
Y– Yearning, don’t dream about one day drinking normally
Z– zzzzz– sleep, we heal whilst we rest. Nap, doze or full on 8 hours, it helps related reading Sleep Solutions
If you’re “sober curious”… If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober!
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