Most people in early addiction recovery fail to nurture the most important relationship in their lives: the one with themselves. This has a detrimental effect on relationships with others—especially romantic ones—and recovery itself. Think of it as if you’re “courting” yourself. Not only do you begin to reflect on all the positive things about you, it also stands to improve your relationships with others and, most importantly, aids in ensuring successful recovery.
As such, there are certainly reasons why you should woo your own self during the first year of addiction recovery.
1. You’ll Get to Know the Real You
Making an effort to impress the person who lives inside of you can help you get to know who you really are: the sober one. That might sound like a stretch right now, if you are new to recovery. You likely still think your genuine identity is wrapped up in drugs and alcohol. But the substances never defined you. Conversely, they tried to destroy you.
Coming to understand who you truly are and have been underneath all that is something you can’t do if you’re focused on another person. To become more self-aware and accountable with regard to your own personal growth and recovery process, being single and prioritizing your own needs for the first year is key. It requires a lot of alone time and self-reflection, and it gives you plenty of time to become reacquainted with your authentic self.
2. You’ll Fall in Love with Your Authentic Self
As you get to know who you are, it allows you the opportunity to not only rediscover, but also fall in love with your authentic sober self. This gives you the chance to fill yourself up, so you can overflow onto others, rather than trying to fill yourself up with someone else. The latter potentially leads to a common occurrence in early recovery: substituting substances with people (e.g., sex addiction or codependency).
As you live out your first year of recovery on your own, you get a chance to avoid these pitfalls, begin to learn how to enjoy your own company and keep the focus strictly on you, the process and your recovery.
3. You’ll Make a Lifetime Commitment to You and Your Recovery from Addiction
When you build a bond with your own happiness and well-being, it gives you the ability and desire to make a lifetime commitment to be good to yourself and your holistic recovery—one that is not sacrificed for another. In other words, the same loyalty you expect in a healthy marriage with another must be given in the committed relationship with yourself.
Recovery doesn’t just last a few months or a few years; it is a lifetime process. And, ideally, it is one which continually evolves.
Just like any external lifelong relationship, there will be an experience of ebb and flow, ups and downs. However, if you truly love you and make that lifetime commitment to yourself and your recovery, you will be in it for the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter how rough recovery may get, you’ll continue to keep that commitment for you.
There are certainly other reasons to focus on yourself in early recovery, but none more vital than your holistic successful recovery. And, bottom line, that’s the summation of all of the above and any other reason that might apply. As with any life or death situation (and certainly recovery is), you can’t save anyone else until you first save yourself.