A Must-Read For Women Who Always Take Care of Everyone Else

Awhile ago, I went skilling with my family in Whistler, Canada, and when I came back I just didn’t feel like myself. I would wake up in the morning feeling exhausted after an 8-hour sleep. I kept thinking it was jet lag, but weeks went by and I just never felt better. A few years ago I had gone in for some blood work and the doctor noticed some of my levels were high.

Turns out, I was diagnosed with autoimmune, low iron, and hypothyroidism, among some other things.

The last several months have been a struggle. I lost my ambition to do most things. I went to my hairdresser and she noticed my hair was unhealthy and falling out. I gained weight around my mid-section (fun). I was just not feeling myself.

The weeks were filled with doctor’s appointments, vitamins, medications, and more.

The other night, I was sitting on the couch watching a movie – something I don’t usually do. Sitting in combination with movie watching and not multitasking? That’s when I knew there must be something wrong.

My sweet husband was in the laundry room folding laundry (think super large, 8-person-family-size laundry). And I was sitting on the couch. Doing nothing else.

Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to just sit there knowing that he was doing a chore and I was doing nothing? I felt so guilty. And then I started to think of all the ways I could repay him. It almost killed me not to get up off the couch and tell him, “Thanks, hon, I’ve got it from here.”

In the last few weeks, he’s put the kids to bed while I pore over medical articles. He’s emptied the dishwasher and taken the kids to the playground so I could nap. It’s really ridiculous.

But then it occurred to me – he’s serving me. And he expects nothing back. Most of my life – certainly all my adult life – I have been thinking of ways to serve everyone else. My kids, my husband, my friends. And now, it’s my time to be served. To accept the loving acts of kindness that my husband is doing for me. 

I had never had a husband that was willing to do something kind. When you’re married to someone suffering from addiction, it’s usually (but not in every case) all about them. Their needs, their timeline, their choices. We become an afterthought.

I don’t share this with you to brag. I hope you know my heart’s intention is good. But I thought about you (as I often do) and wondered… if you had this kind of thoughtfulness offered to you, would you be able to accept it?

Or would you be like me, and feel guilty or like you owe someone something in return?

Why don’t we start accepting the help we need?

What about starting off small, like saying “yes, please” when the grocery clerk offers to carry your bags to the car?

Or “yes, please” when a friend offers to bring over dinner?

Or when we’re feeling really brave, next time you’re vulnerable with someone and they offer to help – actually tell them, “You know what would be so helpful?” and then name your need. Dinner, picking up the kids from school, a girl’s night. Whatever.

We have to stop being afraid of asking for what we need and start feeling deserving enough to receive.

You and I, we are givers. We are women who love to take care of everyone else.

Thanks to an amazing doctor, I am back to 100% health. And because of my “time off” I am a little more balanced in the giving/receiving area.

It was a great reminder to me that accepting help doesn’t make us weak – it makes us real. And being vulnerable enough to receive is truly an act of strength.

I go into self-care more in the Love Over Addiction program. I really hope you join me because making your healing a priority is one of the best ways to help your family start recovering from this disease – whether they get sober or not.

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