One of the common denominators of dealing with substance use disorder is exhaustion. Whether it is the one you love or you, yourself, it is often the overwhelming feelings of despair, hopelessness, guilt and shame that are all consuming in your head and your heart. As a result, our bodies suffer.

The term “SELF CARE” is tossed around these days. We find endless self-help books, workshops and product, out there, everywhere. When addiction becomes unmanageable and is running our lives, we seem to put wellbeing aside. Taking care of ourselves goes out the window and driving around in the middle of the night looking for the drug or our family member becomes the focus.

In recovery we talk about “Self-Care”. It can look like many things. It can be a phone call, it may be 100 calls. It may be a meeting or 100 meetings and multiple treatment programs. If you are a loved one it can be a bath, a walk, meditation and deep breaths, a group or counseling, we all have different needs.

Taking care of oneself is not to be confused with selfishness. We can retrain our minds to recognize that if we don’t put our own wellbeing first then we won’t be able to help or be there with those we love. It is most important to remember that you matter.

So I invite you to stop and take a moment to think about yourself and the last time you really felt happy. Where were you? What were you doing? Who were you with? Has it been awhile? Do you want to feel that more often?

It’s our job, and maybe even our duty, to tend to our health. For our souls and for our loved ones.

So I challenge you to make time today to pay attention to how you feel and what you need. Awareness is the first step. Then try to do one thing that helps you feel joy; that may even be crying.

Reach out to someone you love and tell them you love them. It can even be you!

Then notice if you feel any difference. One thing I am sure of is that we didn’t get here overnight and there is no silver bullet cure; therefore, it takes time, perseverance and commitment to following through.

I am here to say, “You are worth it.” Put you hand over your heart. Offer yourself the compassion and empathy that is born from humility and breeds more compassion, empathy and humility and so on and so on.

Be willing to ask for help and then receive it. We all need help at times, even when we can’t see it.

With love, compassion and empathy,