Illustration by Jon Wealleans
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi (13th century mystic and poet).
Two things happen to us when our family is in the grip of Addiction. We are consumed by Guilt (where did I go wrong? I’m a failure!) and by Shame (How can I face the world when my son/daughter has gone off the rails so spectacularly? I’m a lousy parent.)
As we sink into this state, a sort of helplessness takes over, and we begin to forget who we really are. We become caught up in the stigma of having Addiction in our family. And we forget who we are as people.
Cheer up! There are things that you can do every day to become YOU again.
There are three main areas to look at. Body, Mind and Soul.
When we are in the midst of the chaos caused by Addiction, we neglect ourselves and it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning and keep reasonably clean.
So we’re going to learn how to take care of ourselves again. We’ll start gently, one day at a time.
Would you like to make a Quick Start? If so, take a calendar or diary and pencil in an appointment with yourself this week – to take some physical exercise. One hour somewhere in your week.
While you’re doing that, pencil in two appointments for the following week. One will be for exercise, the other for some self-care. What do I mean by self-care? It’s something that makes you feel good – which some people would say is a self-indulgence.
What do you consider to be self-indulgence? Getting your hair done? A massage? Nails? If you’re a guy, you’re probably going to view most of this stuff as unnecessary. Wrong. With the war zone you’ve been living in, all sorts of things have been happening to you – unseen. Our bodies are good at ‘covering up’ – for a while. But if you continue ignoring your body’s need for relaxation and nurturing, it will fail you at some point. It’s like driving around in your car when the oil is on empty. So guys, how about a sauna and a massage? And if you want to get a pedicure, why the hell shouldn’t you?
It’s not necessary to spend money on this. You can take a long bath and give yourself a pedicure afterwards. That counts as self-care because you’re taking some relaxation.
The posts in this section will encourage you to really take care of yourself and your body. Your health is vital – so I’ll be suggesting a medical check, looking at exercise and diet.
It’s a double-edged sword, this mind we have in our heads. It can be either your servant or your master – which would you like it to be? In this section, I’ll have some possibilities for you to look at in terms of keeping your mind supple, engaged, and most of all, at your service. In particular, Meditation is a wonderful tool for clearing and refreshing your mind – and nourishing your spirit.
If we can clear our minds even a little every day, we make space for Serenity to grow within us.
We are more than just our minds and bodies. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. The road to recovery for us lies in finding meaning in our lives and something greater than ourselves.
So I’ll be giving you some possibilities for spiritual self-care. There is a reason I’ve quoted Rumi at the top of this page. All too often we have been inculcated with guilt by society, our parents, our children, our employers and by religion. None of us are going to get anywhere while we’re ridden by guilt. Rumi, cool dude that he was, understood that we are more than any wrongdoing we have done. No soul is without hope or value. (Remember that the next time you want to blame all your ills on your addicted child or loved one). To get to that field beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, we need to let go of judging ourselves and others.
Most of all, it’s my heartfelt wish for you that in time, you reconnect with having FUN. If that sounds like a total impossibility for you right now – stay with me here.
Your recovery, and your sense of who you are as a person, depend on it.