March 15, 2012

Taking Care of Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:05 PM by Sandra@Just Regular Folks Wandering

One thing I learned through attending a 12 step group was that it was okay to put myself first.  This is something I was taught not to do as a child and something I really never considered doing throughout most of my life.  As a child, my parents came first.  I followed orders and did as I was told, good or bad.  As an adult, I put my husband then children first. 

 When my girls got sucked into the world of addiction, I focused on fixing/saving them and put my needs aside for years.  I disregarded basic healthcare and dentistry until things became emergencies.  By my 40s I was at risk of  loosing my teeth and developed an auto-immune disease from the stress and lack of self-care.   My attitude and disposition soured beyond belief and even I did not like myself.

   I  learned in 12 step meetings about boundaries and how to use them in my best interest.  I learned that it was okay to say no if I really did not want to do something for someone.  I learned I couldn’t save my girls if they didn’t want saving, but I could save myself.  I learned that I had to care about and love myself  before I could love others. 

I’m writing about self-care as my older sister lies in a hospital bed fighting to breathe.  She has two “normal” daughters and has never faced addiction within her family.  Even though her life has been a lot less chaotic than mine, she does not put herself first, either.  A smoker, she refuses to quit even though both our parents died from lung cancer.  She recently fell extremely  ill  because she stoically denied herself the rest and recuperation time she needed to recover from pneumonia.  Her husband had to call 911 because she refused to go to the emergency room, even though she was having extreme difficulty breathing. 

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we put ourselves last ?  I was given messages of unworthyness growing up. I’ve learned that I’ve played these messages subconsciously in my mind through out my adult life.  I used to put others first because deep down inside I didn’t feel worthy enough to put myself first.  Not anymore…………..