Learning to love your body in recovery

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Body Image |

Learning to love your body in recovery

Learning to love my body was something I struggled with in early recovery. After years of abuse and neglect, my body did not look or feel like I wanted it to when I first got sober. In my addiction, I had a sense of disgust towards myself that did not go away just because I put down the drugs. Add to that the fact that I gained back the weight I had lost to drugs and more. My disgust turned to hatred, and it was hard to even look at myself in the mirror.

Learning to love your body in recovery: The steps

For me, the biggest part of learning to love my body in recovery was working the twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous. Creating a conscious contact with God, clearing away the wreckage of my past, and taking a good hard look at the way I had disrespected my body sexually helped me get over my hatred of not only my body, but myself. I could finally look at myself again, and sit alone with myself again. I recognized that my hatred of my body was totally fear based: fear of what others think of me and what I think of myself. If God could love and forgive me after everything I had done, who was I not to love myself?

Learning to love your body in recovery: Exercise and eating right

Another thing that I started doing in recovery that helped me learn to love my body was exercise and eating right. I just felt better in general. I had heard that exercise could change a negative self-perception into a positive one and that it could promote a healthy way of thinking about self, which can improve chances of recovery, but I didn’t really feel that for myself until I started doing it. I had more energy, I got all the benefits of endorphins, and I started to learn to love my body.

Learning to love your body in recovery: No negative self-talk

Among my group of friends, we have a rule: No negative self-talk!  We make an effort to not say negative things about ourselves and if one of us starts saying negative things about themselves, we remind them of the rule. This is great for me, because I had previously tried to connect with other women by complaining about the things that I didn’t like about myself. If they would say “I am so fat,” I would say “I’m fat too, look at my stomach!” Mainly, I used it as a way to connect with another person and get them to relate to me. Over the years, this became a habit. Every time someone else started to criticize themselves, I would join in. Sometimes I would be the one to start it off. In the end, hearing all of the negative comments from myself caused me to really start believing them. It reinforced my negative self-image.

Learning to love my body in recovery was more than just learning to love the way I looked. I also had to learn to love myself, and learn to be grateful for the blessings I’ve been given.

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