ILLUMINATION
Published in

ILLUMINATION

Continuing Our Self Care

An Essay On Health And Wellness

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I would like to think that I have come very far, when I consider all the countless personal demons that I have somehow overcome. It was far from a one part journey. As a matter a fact, it was an experience traveled, that really came together through the success of overcoming multiple chapters and vices, all around the same time.

It’s been a life experience that I wouldn’t necessarily want to go through again by any means. But at the same time, it’s an experience that I’m glad I went through nonetheless. It certainly didn’t click the first time. Or the tenth time, but when it finally clicked, it was one hell of an awakening. It’s seems like it has been a process that wasn’t totally grasped until my maturity was right, the consequences were endless, and my true “desire” for the change finally appeared.

Even when everything seems to finally fall into place, the road is still long and at the beginning usually rigid. It does take time for brain chemicals to reset back to normal levels. And the first 6 to 18 months of sobriety success can usually be very crucial, for the success of many more years.

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Even as we go deeper and deeper into a life of recovery and sobriety, we must keep it fresh in our minds, that to lose all of our recovery can be a process that hits faster than most would think.

It is the continuing of our self care that I feel gives us the most strength. The experts don’t lie when they call addiction and depression chronic diseases. Present forever, but manageable, yes. That’s the key.

This doesn’t mean that I think a person should go to see a therapist once a week for decades. At the beginning, sure. But continuing our self care is about finding a reasonable routine and schedule that strengthens the backbone to our life of sobriety.

For me, I don’t see a therapist or a psychiatrist MD every week anymore. But I do see them. Perhaps just occasional checks ins once a month, or every other month. It’s a habit of consistency that assists me in remaining stable and steady. It may turn more into maintenance, as time goes on. Which is just as important like it’s brand new.

One of the main points about this is, I keep the communication open when it comes to my depression, anxiety, and addiction. A trusted friend or loved one who offers the once in awhile ear, is such a gift and a blessing to me.

Another strong tool in our continuing care, is the best habit of all; the one that’s an honest mouth. Open and honest. Of course to everyone we come by, but even more important, is self honesty. Dishonesty to self, is literally, just a disguise for having an imprisoned mind. With an inability to know what story to believe, what life to lead, which way to go.

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As I have said a million times, another key tool in keeping the quality of our self care on a high standard is the practice of mindfulness. While I have known about mindfulness for many years, I never realized how fascinating and powerful it really could be, until I started mastering it.

Most of us know that it relates to being in the moment, and being conscious of the present time. But that’s all I knew about it for the longest time. It wasn’t until I hit my millionth rock bottom, that I then decided that I really had to take a much deeper look at things like mindfulness. It became clear, that it was to become a tool, that I couldn’t live without.

The continued practice of mindfulness shines lights on vast arrays of avenues that give us that long term, regular self care. Of course it helps us do the obvious, which is remaining in the present moment. But with that, comes so much more. It can show us, and make us aware of how well our mental health is doing.

It has the ability to keep us non-judgmental. Of the world around us day, to day, and even more importantly, mindfulness can be a practice which really stops us from being so judgmental of ourselves. I never imagined that I judged myself. However I soon realized I judged me, my thoughts, myself, and my emotions.

It helps shed light on the reality of how negatively we judge our thoughts, and ourselves. It also help with anxiety, especially when anxiety is falsely exaggerated.

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Finally, mindfulness helps us with acceptance. Acceptance of who we are, and an understanding that we are not flawless. And we learn to be okay with that.

As we see, keeping our self care fresh, and consistent can help us keep new negativity at bay, as well as tend to the old negativity, that sometimes seems to linger around us, as if we have accepted that we must deserve to be stuck with it. In the end, we know that’s not true. We deserve happiness and health, just like everyone else.

By MICHAEL PATANELLA

Michael Patanella

is a Trenton, New Jersey Author, Publisher, Columnist, Editor, Advocate, and recovering addict, covering topics of mental health, addiction, sobriety, mindfulness, self-help, faith, spirituality, Smart Recovery, social advocacy, and countless other nonfiction topics. His articles, publications, memoirs, and stories are geared towards being a voice for the voiceless. Hoping to reach others out there still struggling.

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