One of the recurring themes throughout the stories of the participants was the importance of (re-)building themselves. It connects to the feeling that life is starting to happen after missing out on so much. The participants stories reveal that creating me-time is not self-evident. It’s strongly influenced by self-esteem, socio-economic position, the lens of addiction and ideas about womanhood.
THERE ARE THREE CENTRAL TOPICS IN '(RE-)BUILDING ME'
Because I'm worth it
A first shared element that opened up the discussion about me-time is its connection to self-worth and self-acceptance. When in recovery, an important part is (re)discovering who you are and who you want to be. The participants call it a challenge to accept a more positive outlook on themselves as an individual when drug use undermined their self-worth. They share the idea that it takes time to (learn to) love themselves again and to feel that they deserve to build the life they want, because they are worth it.
Me-time is the necessary time and space to be yourself, develop yourself or ‘escape’ the daily rush. It is the time that participants need and take to live the life they want, instead of being lived. It’s about being able to follow your own pace and do what brings ‘peace’ in order to maintain positive change and avoid relapse.
Triangle of 'beauty'
A specific topic for some women in recovery in relation to building me-time through self-acceptance and self-worth is the meaning of body weight and how this connects to ideals of beauty. The stories of the participants reveal deeply rooted ideas on how women’s self-esteem and idea about beauty depends on their figure and body weight. These ideals can create embodied experiences of being afraid to be ‘not good enough’. As such they can play a role in why woman start to use, how they look at abstinence and the search for self-acceptance in recovery. These conceptions add complexity and challenges for women in recovery.