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Struggling With Body Image In Early Recovery From Drugs & Alcohol

Putting down drugs and alcohol and taking an active role in your health is all part of recovery, but what happens when you take it to an unhealthy level? Working out and eating right  is a great way to help heal the mind and body, but if you put your body at risk to get results fast, you are not only going to affect your health, but your recovery. The easier, softer way usually ends up being the most difficult path to take when it comes to building a healthy body image. Using steroids, engaging in unhealthy eating habits, and any other body alterations to feel good will not work long-term.

Body Image: Steroids

Sometimes men in their first couple of years in recovery will abuse steroids in order to build muscle fast. It basically comes down to the fact that they are not happy with their body image and self. We could go into all the health risks associated with steroids, but most men in recovery know what they are, so let’s focus on what matters most here – appearance. What does this look like to the outside world? Bottom line, it’s not sexy. Most women want a man who is willing to work hard for results in his life, not be lazy. Longevity is also an attractive trait – who wants to date a man who may not live long? Also, it comes across as egotistical and prideful, which are both character traits that are not attractive. If a man cares more about his outside appearance than working on himself as a person, he will always be that little boy who is trying to be a man. A real man takes care of business by putting in real action and hard work.

Body Image: Eating Disorders

There are those who also suffer from various forms of eating disorders. The skinnier they get, the better they think they look. It comes down to control and a skewed belief system. Like steroids, it gives immediate results and also gives the person the false belief that they are in control of something. They also may get attention and like the fact that others think they are too skinny or that others may feel sorry for them. Once again, we could talk about the dangers, but most people who suffer from eating disorders know them already, so let’s talk about what it looks like. The truth is being too skinny is not widely considered “hot”. There is nothing attractive about bones, thigh gaps, and being weak. Not only can it cause bad breath, unwanted facial hair, and sickly looking skin; it will kill you. It also shows that you just don’t love yourself enough to be willing to at least try to stop. If you can’t fully love yourself, you can’t fully show love to others. This will affect your recovery because you will have this “thing” constantly blocking you from being truly happy.

Body Image: Self-Esteem

It’s no shocker that many addicts and alcoholics come into the rooms with body image issues. Heck, most people didn’t even really see their bodies until they got into recovery, but that is no excuse to engage in living an unhealthy lifestyle sober. Working on the inside is what will help build a healthy body image. Working hard towards bettering your health by eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking water will physically change your body in a positive way. This is the only way to get long-term, lasting results. There is no shortcut to recovering from alcohol and drugs, and there is also no shortcut to building a healthy body. Put in the hard work and you will see more than just your appearance change – your entire character and perception will be transformed too.

“Anything in life worth having is worth working for.” Andrew Carnegie




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