Helping Others in Recovery While Still Taking Care of Yourself
It’s easy to focus all of our time and attention on helping our loved ones through drug addiction recovery. In fact, sometimes we forget about taking care of ourselves because we spend so much time and energy supporting our their process. But taking care of yourself while helping others through recovery is very important. Too often, those taking care of an individual in recovery allow themselves to fall to the bottom of their list of priorities.
Sometimes, people think they will take care of things regarding themselves once their loved one is done with recovery. Supporting loved ones in recovery takes a lot of time and effort and emotional energy. But, thinking that you’ll handle things in your own life once your loved one recovers often causes individuals to be reactive, frustrated, and/or unnecessarily anxious. If you prioritize your time to include some self care while helping your loved one through recovery, it is likely you will feel less stress, be more positive and encouraging, and be more calm and caring.
A great example of this is the safety announcement on airplanes. The flight attendant ask us to put our oxygen mask on first and then to place the mask on those who cannot do so for themselves. This example illustrates just how important it is for us to take care of ourselves when trying to help another individual. Doing things to uplift and enhance your life can help you cope and deal with the addiction of your loved one. Often, individuals feel selfish doing things they did before they were involved in helping someone through recovery like attending movies or going shopping. They seem to think they don’t deserve to have fun since their loved one may be suffering. Further, parents of children in recovery may feel guilt— feeling they should have done more to prevent the addiction— and cannot allow themselves to live a normal fulfilled life while their child recovers. These feelings of not allowing oneself to continue normally will only impede your loved one. Continuing to foster other friendships is also key— not allowing yourself to become completely consumed with your loved ones’s recovery. Finding joy and self fulfillment can hep you to be more stable as you aid your loved one in navigating through recovery.
Knowing that you are happy and healthy can help your loved one want the same thing for themselves. The path of recovery may be longer than you planned on and taking care of yourself along the way while helping your loved one sets an important example and is essential to your well being too.