Learning to love your body is something that a lot of women struggle with in early recovery. After years of abuse and neglect, our bodies don’t look or feel like we want them to when we first get sober. In our addiction, we had a sense of disgust towards ourselves that did not go away just because we put down the drugs. Add to that the fact that it is common for us to gain back the weight we had lost to drugs and quite rapidly at that.
Learning to love your body in recovery: Exercise and eating right
Exercising and eating right is a great way to lover your body. First, because you are actually showing love for your body by treating it (and therefore yourself) right. Secondly, exercising and eating well-balanced and nutritious meals will get you into shape and help you shed some of that recovery weight. And being in shape will definitely help you to love your body in recovery! Third, by exercising regularly and eating well, you will be managing your stress levels in a healthy way, unlike in the past when you turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with life. This new way of dealing with life on life’s terms will keep your mind, body, and spirit fit and also helps manage PAWS (post acute withdrawal) symptoms. You will be sleeping better, feeling better, and have less stress. This in turn will support your sobriety because the less you experience PAWS and the better you deal with it when it does happen, the less likely you are to relapse.
Learning to love your body in recovery: No negative self-talk
Here’s a great rule to establish amongst your group of friends: No negative self-talk! Make an effort to not say negative things about yourselves and if one of you starts saying negative things about themselves, remind them of the rule. This is great for me, because I had previously tried to connect with other women by complaining about the things that I didn’t like about myself. Over the years, this became a habit. In the end, hearing all of the negative comments from myself caused me to really start believing them. It reinforced my negative self-image. Remember: be careful what you say about yourself because you are always listening. Tell yourself instead that you love your body in recovery, even with all its quirks.
Learning to love your body in recovery: The steps
For me, the biggest part of learning to love my body in recovery was working the Twelve Steps. Creating a conscious contact with a Higher Power, clearing away the wreckage of my past, and taking a good hard look at the way I had disrespected my body sexually helped me get over my hatred of not only my body, but myself. I could finally look at myself again, and sit alone with myself again. I recognized that my hatred of my body was totally fear based: fear of what others think of me and what I think of myself. If God could love and forgive me after everything I had done, who was I not to love myself?
Learning to love your body in recovery is more than just learning to love the way you look. You get to learn to love yourself, and learn to be grateful for the blessings you’ve been given.
If you or a loved one is struggling with body image or want to learn how to love your body in recovery please call toll-free 1-888-672-4435