You have a lot of responsibility to yourself. You are responsible for feeding yourself, keeping yourself clean, clothed, and housed. Of course there are responsibilities to others as well, but for now, let’s just keep the focus on you.

Our bodies communicate to us when something is needed. It is your responsibility to address these communications. You get a hunger signal if too long has gone by without nourishment. You yawn and get sluggish if your body needs to rest or sleep. If your body needs warmth, it will shiver or sweat if it needs to cool down. You are informed if the body is thirsty. You get the idea.

Other communications happen if the body needs medical attention. Pain communicates. Swelling communicates. Nausea and fever and indigestion and on and on and on. Your body speaks to you, and it is your responsibility to listen and act. Ignoring these communications can cause great peril.

Your body also can rebel against mistreatment. Depression and anxiety alert us to trouble. And of course, loading up on mind-altering chemicals puts extra stress on the body and the brain. The body wants to be in balance. The body learns to adjust to the amount of chemicals you ingest as a way to care for itself, and that is why you need more and more often. Of course this is pretty much an oversimplification, as I am not a medical person.

It is the height of irresponsibility to mistreat your body and your mind. As you continued to ingest chemicals, your whole system had to make adjustments to accommodate these intruders. In the same way, if you relapse after being in recovery for a while and take the amount you left off with, overdose can happen because your body has lessened its tolerance level. These adjustments should be viewed with awe.

Your body is where you live. It is where you experience life. Harming your body is like burning down your house. Who in their right mind would do that? But of course, for so long you have not been in your right mind.

One of the most amazing things about our bodies is that they can self-repair. Even if we have been abusive, neglectful, or downright cruel, our inner healer starts to heal at the first opportunity. The body wants to be balanced, healthy.

So your responsibility to yourself is your first responsibility in recovery. Getting back your health and healing is job number one. And while the body is healing, you need to heal your mind. Therapy, group therapy, meetings all matter. The body follows the directives of the mind and vice versa. A healthy mind in a healthy body is the ideal.

Your responsibility is to properly nourish and care for yourself. As time passes, the restoration of your health becomes measurable. We desperately hope that irreparable harm has not been done. While some damage is repairable, some is not. But if you pledge to start being responsible right now, you will, at the very least, have put a halt to further damage. The importance of this cannot possibly be overstated.

Taking responsibility is a critical step in recovery. Added to all these areas of responsibility is the major responsibility of keeping yourself in a lasting recovery. No matter what happens, no matter what doesn’t happen, your first item on this critical agenda is not to use. Ultimately, you are in charge of you. But you know this, don’t you?

You must fight off urges, cravings, and desires that tell you to use. You must pay attention to the voice in your head that you have nurtured by feeding your addiction over and over. You can fight this voice, and you can win as so many have done before you. This is your greatest responsibility, and taking ownership of that responsibility becomes your greatest reward.