Personal care and Responsibility

- July 20, 2022

Many of us while active in our addictions may become somewhat removed with keeping up personal grooming and hygiene.  This can have a very negative effect on our mentality and how we view ourselves.  When feeling the effects of the highs and lows of our addiction we may become more disheartened by the way we have let ourselves go physically.  We may lose an unhealthy amount of weight and become skeleton like in our outward appearance.  We have probably also not visited the dentist in a long time as well.  Most of us could use some help with out hair be it conditioning treatments or a trim.  Males may need their beards groomed.  And don’t forget our finger and toenails.  A mani-pedi may be in order here.

A newly sober addict is usually in need of some of the items listed above.  They may also have limited funds which would not allow them to access professional services.  A good resource for services is the local cosmetology school in your community or a neighboring community.  They advertise haircuts for $2.00 to $4.00.  Some facilities even offer manicure and pedicure services for a minimal fee.  Some also offer facial and skin care services.  In addition to this a small group of people could get together at home and perform services for each other.  The expense could be minimal with participants providing whatever types of beauty skills and products they may have access too.  

A good shower or bath can do wonders to lift an addict’s spirits.  Sloughing off old dry skin with a scrubbing tool such as a loofah or nylon ball can bring new vitality to dry and sun damaged skin.  A good moisturizing from top to bottom is also helpful here as we discover our new found soft skin.  And let’s not forget our feet while bathing.  We could all use some time spent cleansing and moisturizing our feet.   

Most addicts are not too concerned with their nutritional needs when actively using.  One may be vitamin deficient in several areas.  A good multi-vitamin taken daily is a good place to start.  Some community medical clinics have nutritionists on staff to help in determining a proper diet for their clients.  Some clinics provide these services on an ability to pay basis or no charge at all.  Food choices could be added to the diet in order to provide the needed nutrients.  Additional supplements could be discussed and taken as funds permit.  At times free supplements are provided to the client by the nutritionist so take advantage of this whenever you can.

The most important part of self-care is taking care of our physical health.  Once again this may be done at a community clinic that sees patients regardless of their ability to pay.  A good physical with blood work done may be in order here.  One may have a known condition such as Hepatis C which they have neglected treatment for.  The status of the disease could be determined. and appropriate treatment and medications could be prescribed to treat the disease.  

Sexually transmitted diseases generally are present in communities with lots of practicing addicts.  Needle exchange programs have brought about harm reduction in some of these communities.  Methadone maintenance is also a useful intervention to assist one in getting off of heroin.  Possibly the disease of HIV/AIDS is the most concerning.  Most addicts may at times engage in risky sexual behaviors, putting themselves at risk for lots of different sexually transmitted diseases.  It is wise and prudent to be tested for HIV/AIDS by a simple blood test.  Other sexually transmitted diseases may also be determined by blood tests.  Syphilis and herpes may be found upon visual inspection by a physician.  The practice of using a condom when engaging in risky sexual behavior can significantly reduce your chances of becoming infected.  The condom is not a 100% effective tool, but may be of some help in reducing transmission rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  

As you can see self-care has a lot of components.  We need to address all these areas mentioned above in order to be as healthy as we can be.  Let us not leave out the psychological aspect of recovery.  We may need to have some group or one on one therapy with a psychiatrist familiar with addiction.  It is important to get started on the road to self-care as you maintain your new-found sobriety.  Self-esteem will increase and you will feel better when you are interacting with others.  And don’t forget to try and get some sunshine every day.  

Written by Phillip