As part of a journey of recovery, we often discuss the struggle of living with addiction and the steps to obtaining improved quality of life. It is important to remember that many individuals going through recovery have affected their family members and loved ones significantly. Family members can also experience addiction themselves.
How important is self-care for each individual in the family dynamic?
When we focus our energy and strength in assisting our family member or friend into a life of recovery, other aspects of our lives can take a back seat. It could be your career, furthering your education, hobbies, or even taking care of other individuals. These important items may not seem as crucial as providing care or help for your loved one. As a caregiver or family member, it is important that you remember your own health is equally as important.
When on an airplane, one of the first things clarified in the safety procedure is that each passenger is to place on their own oxygen mask. The sentiment is to ensure to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others around you. This is often explained to individuals when discussing the importance of self-care. Ensuring you are well taken care of first is the only way to effectively help your loved one.
Negative effects of ignoring self-care.
A hallmark of an unhealthy relationship is when someone has a challenging time identifying their own feelings and emotions and separating them from their loved one. In getting wrapped up in another person’s journey, you often end up riding their proverbial rollercoaster – trying to keep stability in their lives so that you can feel stable in your own. We encourage you to get off the rollercoaster so that when your family member is ready to get well that you won’t both be dizzy!
As a caregiver or family member living with a recovering addict, you may be experiencing poor eating habits, lack of sleep, decrease in regular exercise, and neglect of your overall health. This opens up an invitation to more unhealthy habits such as higher use of medication or other mood altering substances, experiencing mental health challenges such as anxiety and, depression, or abuse of alcohol or tobacco.
Taking care of number one.
A great start to keeping a healthy body, mind and soul, is to create healthy personal boundaries. It is not selfish to put your needs first, asking others for assistance or realizing that you are not fully responsible for this person’s’ health. There is a point in time where people have to invest in their own health, whether their family member is on board or not.
Take time for yourself by participating in activities that promote a joy and/or mindfulness. You could try a yoga session once a week, going for a walk in a park or taking some time to read a novel. These activities give your body and mind a chance to relax.
How do you cope with staying positive in your family dynamic?
We would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment below.
If you or your family is struggling with an addiction, please give us a call at 1-866-716-2006 or read about our Cedars Discovery Program, for families struggling with addiction.