When was the last time you did something purely for you? Something that did not have any ‘should’ attached to the action, -but something you did just because you take enjoyment out of it. When in recovery from an addiction or eating disorder, it may seem as if many things are suddenly surrounded by rules and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the countless well-meaning tips and pieces of advice that we obtain in the recovery communities. We are by no means urging you to turn your back on these, rather the invitation is to reflect for a moment, whether you manage to still have fun and enjoy yourself in your life-long commitment to sobriety. After all, many of the things that surrounded an alcohol or drug addiction, may on some level have felt fun, while for others there was no fun derived from these addictive behaviours, which is why sober life deserves to be enriched by a sense of connection, fun and light-heartedness.
Perhaps, upon reading the title, you are instantly put off by the sound of a ‘me’ day. After all, ‘me’ is the one we have been trying so hard to silence, to run away from, and hide. So inviting ‘me’ back into play, may feel a bit daunting. Still, others may discover that fun IS part of their sobriety and that for them, the newfound ‘me’ is someone that they can actually trust and quite like.
A ‘me’ day does not necessarily have to involve doing things all by yourself. A day dedicated to your needs, and your idea of a day well spent, is what we are talking about, and if, for you that means socializing with friends, going to a concert, watching your favourite movie, not answering any phone calls, or simply dedicating the day to silence, then that qualifies a day of your own design.
Recovery is a life style, and most will come to see that for new habits to be formed, we need time and conscious effort. When we were active in our addiction we were essentially acting out and being out of control. Sobriety can therefore initially feel very controlled and there is a natural tendency to adopt a rather inflexible thinking style and way of behaving. This naturally serves a purpose, because for new behaviours to become second nature, we necessarily have to apply some conscious effort.
A good way of thinking of sobriety is ‘balance’. Using the analogy of a pendulum, in our addiction we swing to one side, and in our early recovery we tend to swing to the other. And over time, with careful attention to not force the process by allowing for excuses, we are able to bring ourselves back in to alignment, - the place from which we are able to find a greater sense of inner balance and contentment. This does not mean that we occasionally drink, do drugs, or engage in eating disorder behaviours. Rather, as we come to trust ourselves and our decision to not pick up, so we become increasingly flexible and tolerant of variations to our daily routines.
One way of having a ‘Me’ day is to actively consider today’s fellowship meeting something you do for yourself, and not because you ought to go. This shift in thinking, can be a powerful way of reclaiming some of your creative power. Nurturing yourself, and allowing yourself to take enjoyment from your activities, will increase the chances of successful recovery.