It is easy to be kind to other people, but quite often hard to be self-compassionate. Women are harder on themselves than men in this way, being critical of their looks and abilities to the point they cannot receive a compliment without delivering a backhanded compliment to themselves. Being kind to oneself is often the hardest thing to do. Women who struggle with addiction may have low self-esteem and confidence. With the right treatment program, women can grow in self-compassion that helps them heal in recovery.
Making Room for ‘Me’
Taking time to get away from it all is getting harder and harder. With technology in everyone’s face all day, it is hard to find tech-free moments. It is an intentional act of rebellion to get away from screens and learn how to connect. It is great to recharge by going away from email, computers, and social media. Recharging the human soul is best done in nature, by connecting with others, and reconnecting to the self. While people can listen to music, write in journals, meditate, or try other things, the main goal is not in the doing. It is in being present to the self. Women often give so much of themselves to others they cannot hear themselves think. They are disconnected from their inner desires that drive their purpose. Making room for the self means getting away from the things that distract to make room for things that give life.
Women who struggle with substance use disorder often deal with feelings of inadequacy and are challenged by the idea they are not enough. If they feel their feelings are not enough or are invalid, their feeling of inadequacy builds. This can trigger relapse in recovery, but definitely is a driver with addiction in general. Giving self permission to experience feelings as they come up without judgment is important and necessary. Knowing a woman has permission to feel what she wants without qualification or justification gives her freedom to start healing. Some of the challenges of not owning one’s feelings is shame and self-blame. To turn this around, it is important to recognize that the woman is enough just as she is. There is no need to do anything more or less. Everyone has a unique pathway to healing, but all women have feelings to contend with along the way. The hope is they can find support and continue to move forward in recovery.
Healing Through Recognition
Acknowledging the self has one lot of inner work and healing is important to the journey of recovery. Many people find it easier to acknowledge when others achieve something great more than themselves. To move ahead in life, it is important to celebrate accomplishments because it is a good balance against the challenges of recovery and addiction. When looking at achievements, it is important to stop for a moment and acknowledge it. Offer compliments and say something uplifting and encouraging. Befriend that inner critic that says what happened is ‘not enough’ or ‘good enough.’ Everything a person experiences is indeed enough, for them, and their feelings and emotions are valid.
Release the Inner Critic
It is important to look at life with critical eyes. However, women who have been through addiction are often overly critical of themselves. The inner voice expresses criticism and disapproval rather than healing words of affirmation. Engaging in unhealthy behaviors helps people believe they will silence that critic, but that is not always the case. The inner critic cannot be silenced. It has to be released for healing with a therapist working on personal judgment. This means recognizing the attempts it is taking to protect a woman from being hurt. Self-compassion is a tough lesson in recovery. It means digging down into the layers and finding out what that critic really means to say. Be compassionate and kind, but learn to accept what is true, not just the critical bits. The inner critic can be healed if a person lets it.
What it means to be ‘enough’ is to accept and appreciate what is, if only for today. One step at a time, as they say with the 12-step process. Every step is significant because it is away from addiction, further into recovery. There is no healing greater than recognizing a woman is enough. Accepting themselves is healing while making room for hopes and dreams of the future. This might mean:
- Using personal words of affirmation every day to boost confidence
- Writing it down where it can be seen in and around a person’s belongings (home, car, workspace)
- Joining a meditation or yoga group where they can help provide affirmations that boosts a woman’s sense of connection to others who desire the same
Being enough is hard but it is necessary. It is not necessary to change oneself to be good enough. Just work on the self and focus on getting the healing that way. One day at a time, one step as a woman goes through the process. Self-compassion can truly be healing for women in recovery when they allow the journey to help transform them.
Casa Capri is designed for women who are struggling with addiction to find hope and a purpose. We encourage women with the right tools, resources, and therapy to find self-compassion. It is a journey that never ends, but it is good to start with other women who understand the struggle. If you are struggling, we are here to help: Call us today 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.