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San Diego Sober Living - Recovery

Embracing Self-Love in Your Recovery Journey

In the acclaimed HBO crime drama series The Wire, some of the most memorable scenes featured 12-step group meetings where some of the actors essentially played themselves. Walon, the sponsor to the streetwise and hopeless addict Bubbles, was played by outlaw country music star Steve Earle, a man who struggled with recovery and severe relapse for decades. Earle was also a recovery consultant for the series, and he wrote some of the dialogue, specifically the heartbreaking scene in which he tells Bubbles the secret to staying sober: “Love yourself some, brother.” There’s a mountain of wisdom in this phrase, which can be explained as follows.

Understand Not Everyone Is Wired for Self-Compassion

For many individuals who enter recovery, particularly men, a lack of self-love can derail their journey to sobriety. Self-love is an emotional state that goes beyond self-esteem. It’s an important factor in rationalizing the recovery process, but not everyone can fully embrace it. 

Most people feel terrible guilt upon accepting they’ve become addicted. If they continue to carry such guilt as they try to recover, they’ll put themselves at risk for relapse. Self-compassion precedes self-love, but not everyone will find it easy to practice in recovery.

Know When the Order of the 12 Steps Matters

People who are selfless and generous at heart often rush to get to the eighth and ninth steps, which involve making a list of all the people harmed by their addictions and then making amends. The problem with this approach is that you shouldn’t rush the first seven steps because they prepare you to make amends with yourself before seeking forgiveness from others. If you’re not wired for self-compassion, you may get stuck on the fourth step, which is when you take a moral inventory and realize how you’ve wronged yourself.

Let Others Guide You toward Self-Compassion

This is at the heart of all recovery programs, starting with Alcoholics Anonymous, and it’s part of a group dynamic designed to let everyone know the importance of self-love in recovery. Seasoned AA members will tell you the meeting rooms are where they learned to finally let go and love themselves. Others discover this axiom of life during their stays at sober living facilities, such as an Encinitas sober living home, or through outpatient counseling sessions. Self-love is the kind of realization that tastes sweeter when others help you achieve it.

Get into Habits that Foster Self-Love

Start with simple indulgences that can be easily enjoyed daily or a couple of times a week. This can be a cup of coffee made just the way you like it and enjoyed in solitude. It can be listening to an interesting podcast or a playlist with your headphones on. It could be a walk in the park, a longer drive to a cafe, a leisurely bath, or time spent with a good friend. The key is to make the indulgence yours and yours alone. It often works better if you keep it as a personal secret, but don’t forget to take a minute to reflect on why you deserve it.

If you’re newly sober and you need help with avoiding relapse, call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing men’s sober living in Encinitas, we work with our individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. For more information about our sober living facilities, call us today.

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