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There are a lot of things you can work on at an addiction recovery center. Group therapy, individual therapy and talking with a Recovery Coach are important resources for exploring addiction and the behaviors that are connected to it. 

One topic that is sure to come up in our Intensive Outpatient Program in Dallas is self-love. It’s the foundation for overcoming addiction and building yourself back up in recovery. As crucial as self-love is, it’s often something that patients lack when they enter an addiction recovery center. In many cases, self-love is a new concept that a patient has never purposely practiced before.

When you’re in recovery, practicing self-love might not come naturally. Let’s start the process by talking a little more about what self-love is, why it’s important and how to practice it.

What Is Self-Love?

For some, the concept of self-love isn’t clear cut, but it’s actually very simple. Self-love means having appreciation for oneself. It’s a form of self-care that’s based on understanding who you truly are and accepting who you are. It comes from experiences of spiritual, physical and psychological growth. When a person practices self-love they are looking out for their own well-being and best interests because taking care of yourself is a priority. That includes taking it easy on yourself and forgiving yourself when you make a mistake. 

It’s important to acknowledge that self-love is different for each person because it’s about your unique relationship with yourself. Therapy can help people in recovery figure out what self-love means to them. 

The Importance of Self-Love

Self-love is a form of self-care that counters the low self-esteem that feeds addiction. Without self-love it’s going to be very difficult to heal and move on with your life because you’ll be stuck in a negative loop of self-blame. 

It’s important for everyone to practice self-love for several key reasons:

  • You are less likely to settle for less than you deserve.
  • You are less likely to sacrifice your own well-being for others. 
  • You are less likely to behave in ways you know are harmful to your well-being.
  • You are more likely to take responsibility for bad behaviors and forgive yourself.  

These are all very positive during recovery when you’re working on building back your self-esteem and prioritizing your own needs. Self-love is also important because your relationship with yourself influences your relationships with others, and during recovery a strong support system is essential. 

Ways to Practice Self-Love During Addiction Recovery

In the middle of your addiction self-love was absent. In recovery self-love should be constant. Practicing self-love is necessary to combat the shame and self-hate that is connected to addiction. Turning inward to clearly see who you are, both the good and the bad, can be uncomfortable at first, but self-love is a process that will ultimately lead to acceptance and feeling much better about who you are as a person. 

Below are four easy ways you can practice self-love while you’re in an IOP Program. 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is another thing that we focus on at our Intensive Outpatient Program in Dallas, TX. Being mindful means that you are engaged in the moment and listening to your body. You’re paying more attention to how you feel, which reveals your innermost thoughts and needs. It’s the type of self realization that makes self-love possible. 

Being more mindful can also help you stop negative thoughts before they take over. It makes you more aware of whether you’re using negative self-talk so that you can have a more positive conversation with yourself. 

Meditate Daily

One way to become more mindful is to meditate. Meditation allows you to quiet the mind and reflect on what you’ve done. Mentally exploring those thoughts, feelings and experiences helps you become more intentional with your actions. Meditation also puts you in control of your thoughts, and when that happens you can direct the thoughts about yourself down a more positive path. 

KEEP READING: Why Meditation is Life-Changing During Treatment

Get Creative With Art

Art is a great way of exploring our thoughts and emotions so that you understand your true self better. It also gives you the freedom to express yourself, which may not come easily with words alone.

We suggest that patients have an artistic outlet for another reason during recovery. There’s no right or wrong with art. Because of that there’s no need to compare yourself to others, which can lead to negative thinking about oneself. 

Find an Exercise You Enjoy

Too often people think of exercise as work and end up avoiding it. We promote exercise at our outpatient rehab in Dallas because the benefits go well beyond staying fit. Exercising regularly has been shown to decrease stress, improve sleep and boost self confidence. Substance abuse researchers have found additional benefits. Studies show that regular exercise reduces the chance of a relapse because it distracts people from their cravings, provides routine or structure and can build positive social connections. 

The trick is to find a physical activity that you enjoy doing. Exercise doesn’t have to be running for miles on a treadmill or lifting weights until your muscles are sore. Anything that gets you up moving and elevates your heart rate counts and that includes walking. 

Are you wondering if an IOP Program is right for you? Contact our Intensive Outpatient Program in Dallas, TX to speak with a trained professional who can provide a free, no obligation assessment.

Learn more about our services or contact us below to discover how Lighthouse can help you on your road to recovery today. Thank you for your trust.