A Note from the Heart: From Rockbottom to Visceral Self-Love

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Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts. - Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D., Psychology Today  

Self-love. 

It's one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around a lot and for good reason.  

Self-love is critical when it comes to our own health and wellness. 

It's what makes us feel whole in a way that a partner or anyone outside of us could never do.  

This last February 24, I marked 9 years of sobriety.

9 Years ago, I was at rockbottom - emotionally and physically.

A few months before that I stood in my parents driveway telling them I wanted to go to rehab or die.

I knew I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing, but I didn’t know how to stop.

I wanted to.

I didn’t have the tools.

I was in the grips of an addiction that was so much larger than I was at the moment.

The shame spiral kept bringing me back down.

Shame will do that. I have found more than any other feeling - it is the one that makes you want to hide under the covers and not face the world.

And I wanted to get clean but the things I would do when under the influence felt so shameful that when I was sober, I could barely look at myself, so the cycle of trying to numb continued until I was lucky enough to go to rehab and put down the wine and pills.

It took me a few months to truly look at where I had been, I was so scared to look back because the shame was visceral.

But what suprised me in recovery, was that the more I talked about all the things I felt ashamed of, the less they controlled me.

The more I started to become a productive member of society (instead of stuck in the spiral in between my ears) and put one foot in front of the other the more alive I started to become. (I was working front-desk at a doctors office - it was not my dream drop but I worked every day to get the patients to smile as they went back).

The feeling of shame started to evaporate and it was replaced by love. Love from my higher power, love from those around me and then love that I was finally able to give back to myself.

That feeling of love, filled the hole in my heart and chest that I previously tried to fill up with anything I could - booze, pills, material things, relationships….

for the first time in my life I had experienced true, visceral self-love.

It was the first time I felt good in my own skin and enjoyed the ordinary miracles of everyday life in a way I had never imagined.

My hope is for everyone to experience self-love in the way I have.

This post is not about 5 things you can do for a better body or simple tips for more spirituality. I am happy to share those and will continue to do so, because in a world filled with so much coming at us daily, I know your time is valuable.

But there are times that call for moments of true candor.

Every once and a while I love sharing that candor here, when the moment grips me because I remember wishing someone would just tell me - it’s gonna be alright.

YOU are worth it.

And if you don’t believe that yet, believe that I believe.

Mary Sabo