What do I need to do to take care of myself?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Take care of yourself.
This seems to be a reoccurring theme.

In the Al-Anon meetings I have been to they keep saying take care of you. In the book I am reading and the comments I received and the blogs I read all say that. I keep hearing this over and over. I kept thinking in my mind I don’t know how to do this anymore. It seems too much work to take care of myself, along with the other people I take care of.
I don't know how to take care of myself. I have been taking care of somebody else for the last 8 years. I use to take care of myself, I just gave up. Seems silly you can’t even figure out how to take care of your self. I seem to know how to take care of others, what they should do, when they should do it, how they should do it and whats best for them.

I was reading last night and in the book it said. "Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself." She listed a few things Could it be that easy? Could I make a list?

Haircut - it seems silly that this would be the first thing on my list. I use to spend a lot of money on how I looked –hair salon, nails, gym membership, makeup, jewelry, clothes. Last time I cut my hair about 6 months ago. I put it in a pony tail and just chopped it off. Britney moment? I just made an appointment to get my hair done.

My face - I am not sure I am ready to go back to wearing makeup, but I can start taking care of my face again - not just soap, water and whatever lotion is sitting on the counter

Exercise - I use to go to the gym every day, not sure I am ready to go back to the gym, we have a Wii, maybe I will try Wii fit, there is also a lot of fitness shows on TV

Diet - I just eat anything that’s available, vending machine at work, PB&J a lot at home, chips, soda - cookies and Starbucks are me weakness, just cutting those out would help tremendously. I have gained 75 pounds this year. That doesn't seem possible, sadly it’s the truth.

Walk - I really enjoy walking with my dog Angel - she's a very sweet Cocker Spaniel. I can make it a point to walk everyday. She has been my rock. I can always talk to her. She loves me unconditionally. ( Do I sound a little wacky?)

Music - I like music but when I am feeling down I don't like to listen to music, it’s really strange, when I am in the car all I do is switch stations, I can't listen to some songs. I really don't know why, because most of them don't say anything about my issues. Weird. I think I might try some new age music. Something soothing. Maybe I will by an IPod.

Al-Anon- I will try to go to more Al-Anon meetings, they have at least one a day, and I could even sneak over during my lunch

Sponsor - I need it get a sponsor, it’s hard for me to ask for help, but they keep encouraging that.

Higher Power - I am open minded, most everything I am hearing about, step I need to take, I need my Higher Power. I am going to figure out who/what my Higher Power is.

Prayer - I was not raised in a religious family, I don't know how to pray - this goes along with my Higher Power, I think this is something I really need to think about and work on.

Boundaries - I need to set up some boundaries with Ryan and stick to them, setting them up will be easy, enforcing them is something that will be very difficult for me

Read - I use to read for fun all the time. You wouldn't catch me ever without something I was in the process of reading. I am currently reading self help books; I need to go get a novel, I have not read a novel in a very long time.

Sleep - I don't like to sleep at night, I do like to sleep in the morning. I think Ryan gets this from me. I have to be to work by 7, I usually don't go to bed until midnight to one o'clock, sometimes later.

Family - I would like to spend time with my other children and their kids, I don't see them much, that’s a shame. I have 4 beautiful children not just one. I have 3 of the cutest grandchildren, they hardly know me, and twins that will be here in about six week. I have not even bought them anything. Shame on me.

Shopping – I use to love, love, love to shop. Now I hate even walking into the stores. I can go shopping for the new babies. That might be fun.

Get out of the house - I don't like to go anywhere or be around people, especially people that drink, I am becoming very anti-social. Al-Anon is helping me a lot just by being around other people.

Golf - I use to be very passionate about golf. I was pretty good at it; I think I need to start playing again. Too bad it’s getting cold here, but there should be a few more nice days left.

My husband – I really honestly use to tell people I had the perfect marriage, the perfect family and I did. I am not sure I have the mental strength to think about this right now, but I put it on my list for the future.

I hope it is easy as it sounds. At least my brain is willing to wrap itself around the idea. A few months ago, even a few days ago, I am not sure this was possible.
This looks like a good start. A few things I can do now, a few things I need to ease into and something’s I really need to figure out.

I really use to be a normal, happy person.
I am going to start taking care of myself.
Thanks for your kind words, it gives me hope and gives me confidence.

P- lighter
E - Optimistic
M - Clear
S -Openminded


Mom of Opiate Addict October 23, 2009 at 10:03 AM  

It seems as though you are taking steps to take care of yourself. I know from my own experience that as a co-dependent I sometimes will try and figure it out and do it all at once, taking on too much and then not following through. I am now trying to take it slower, like get the haircut, take the dog for a walk and stop the PB&J to start. As co-dependents we sometimes make unreasonable expectations of ourselves also. Self-nurturing is so important in our recovery and I am so happy you are looking at doing that. You are sounding very positive!

Cheri October 23, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

I agree with Renee's comment above. Take things in small steps, and when you have mastered those new things, such as taking that walk with Angel every day and stopping the PB & J, then add another small change. If you take it all on at once, you'll overwhelm yourself and stop everything, and that won't be taking care of yourself.

LisaC October 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Lynn, you are not alone! I have been dealing with my heroine addicted son (we became aware March 2008) and after 10 months of living outside of the house in sober living environments since Christmas Day 2008, he is coming home next week. I've started having nightmares about it. Anyway...you are not alone.

We are all working on being loving, caring parents, without being codependent parents, and we can do it. You will find many, many blogs to read and comment on. You will find ways to feel better and improve and you won't have to stop loving Ryan to make it a better relationship and to allow him to take care of himself and make his own choices.

I still have so much to learn and I am scared to have my son come home. But I'm going to keep moving forward. Keep writing, keep reading and take small steps.

Your family will never be perfect, but they are your family. You have many blessings within that family (grandchildren) and children that are healthy and living a good life. Remember, you are part of the good, as well. Hugs and prayers to you. Stay connected...we need you in our community!

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story October 23, 2009 at 4:14 PM  

What wisdom I have read here! This is a good list, but I totally agree that you need to set one goal at a time. In my own person experience,
the first step about feeling better about how you appear on the OUTSIDE is to build a routine, at night, to take care of your skin (of course, I was an esthetician for 15 years!). Clean your skin, and start with just 5 minutes somewhere to just be quiet. ...be still, and know I am God.. comes to mind. Re-think the day, and give thanks for just a few things you appreciate... that you aren't homeless...that you were able to buy something to eat... count your blessings. Give thanks. Truly, I do this every single morning.

I took time to clean out my frumpy clothes, too. I wanted to look nice, to show that I honored who I am. By that, I didn't want to dress at home like a bag lady!

Spiritually-- I turned my back on God for 20 years! I learned to pray when someone told me it's just talking to God! God doesn't expect eloquent prayers at all. He wants you to talk to him. Tell him how you feel. I learned to pray by praying out loud-- in private, of course. Every morning, I pray out loud as I drive to work. When I hear myself pray, somehow the words start to come.

Taking care of you is so important. There is so much I'd like to share with you, but I'll take that in baby steps.

To discover God you have to seek him. On my blog, I list Celebrate Recovery, which is a faith based support ministry. Maybe you have one in your area?

It took me five years of seeking to know who God is before I decided to become a Christian. Honestly. I found the perfect church that was non-denominational. I just felt it was my new "home".

It's good that you started this list. It's a starting point. Baby steps. You have folks here to support your journey.

May God reveal Himself to you, that you will feel his strength and power.


Barbara(aka Layla) October 23, 2009 at 5:58 PM  


I relate to so much of what you wrote! I also agree with the others...choose a few things to add to your "self care" program each week so you don't feel overwhelmed. I vote for getting an iPod and if you need any help with it I can be your personal iPod helper :)

You've inspired me to think more of how I can take care of me. I hear it all the time too and its such a foreign concept, but I am getting there!

Her Big Sad November 1, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

Hi! I read your list and I thought, this whole list could be mine. I have let so much go. Nine years of dealing with my addict has taken its toll. I had to get a new license picture a year ago and I was appalled. The changes were WAY too dramatic and negative to have been normal aging. Stress has a huge effect, for sure. Taking care of me is still a somewhat new concept for me. I agree with those commenters who have said, don't try it all at once. Tackle a few and get both the benefits of what you have done, and the sense of achievement!! And remember, you're not alone!!

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