Years of abusing our bodies with substances, depriving ourselves of nutrition or sleep and putting ourselves in dangerous situations dull our connection to our bodies. We teach ourselves to disconnect from physical discomfort or numb it artificially. Once we clean up, physical pain can be overwhelming to handle. It’s important we start regularly seeing professional doctors to make sure we don’t have chronic illness or vitamin deficiency from years of mistreating ourselves. I was 3 years sober when a doctor finally recognized that I had a severe vitamin D deficiency.
Our bodies communicate beautifully to us. Your physical self knows what it needs. If I’m hungry all day but never feel full, I need to drink more water and pay closer attention to my sleep schedule. If my thoughts are cloudy and I am quick to react to situations in anger, I probably need to exercise and meditate more frequently. Each person will have their own internal signals for self-care. Recently, I’ve realized that I need to exercise and read more. My body is needing an outlet in that way & so I’ve been spending more time doing those things. This is the main reason we require clients to participate in self-care 5 times a week while in our homes: most of us just don’t know how to do it yet. It’s a learning process and a getting to know ourselves process that is integral to long-term recovery.