Recovering form addiction is a life-long process, and it begins with admitting your substance abuse to begin with. However, it doesn’t end there, or with a spell in rehab. Recovery isn’t easy, and will involve changing a lot of the familiar patterns of life. Here’s some things every addict should know as they take the first steps towards recovering from their substance abuse.
Your family and friends can be enablers.
Of course, it’s obvious that groups of friends you had surrounding your particular drug of choice will be enablers. They often feel ashamed about their own use, or are persons such as dealers who have great incentive to pull you back in to your old habits. However, other people can also facilitate your substance abuse, from parents who love you so much they unwittingly help you stay addicted, to people who rile you not knowing or caring you’re in recovery. A lot of the process will be you realising only you can take ultimate responsibility for your actions.
You will lose friends.
Of course, sometimes you can’t patch it up with friends, and you will lose them because of the addiction you had. You will also need to get rid of those who enable you and try to pull you back into addiction. Lastly, the support groups you form in recovery will also see loss- people will relapse and not pull themselves back up. They may stay sober but be lost early to the result of their previous addiction. It’s important to find friends out of recovery for this very reason.
It’s all on you.
On that note, realise it really is all on you. Yes, you will have people to help- from corrections officers to counsellors and pastors; to love ones, people want you to get well. But in the end, you are the only person who can drive your destiny.
In the end, you are the creator of your sobriety.
Many addicts hand off their recovery and continuing sobriety to the programs they entered. Yes, programs, people and counsellors will help- but if you get and stay sober, ultimately the victory is yours.
You are [were] a liar.
Addicts say and do anything that enables their addiction to continue. They may genuinely not realise that this is the case. It can, in many way, become a mechanism for survival. Your brain has learnt to drive you towards the high you received from the substance you are abusing, and will do anything to get it, confusing it with a genuine biological goal. In doing so, you may well have alienated loved ones and family. You’ve taught them you can’t be trusted. Yes, this can eventually be remedied for the most part- but be aware that sometimes, people whose trust you have broken won’t give you it back. Try to understand it from their viewpoint
You may have been a criminal too.
Did you steal to fund your habit? Did your particular substance of abuse leave you with manic mood swings or urges to violence that may have led you to actions you wouldn’t otherwise have undertaken? Was your substance of abuse prohibited by law? It can be very hard to admit to yourself that your actions were illegal. However, realising this, accepting such parole, conviction or corrections procedures as you are assigned, and moving past it is a vital part of recovery.
Don’t transfer your addiction.
It’s easy to switch from one substance to something else- even if it’s as innocuous as coffee. Don’t allow yourself to replace your addiction with another one that’s more socially acceptable. It can have devastating long term effects on your recovery.
You can’t be the same again.
Unfortunately, things will never go back to how they were before the addiction changed everything. Yes, you have a strong likelihood of being able to reconnect with and regain the trust of loved ones, get profitable employment, and make something of your life. Of course, having once been an addict need not ruin your future- but you probably won’t be able to put it back exactly as it once was. Accepting that it was your actions that caused the damage, and seeing how you can move through them, is essential to your recovery.
It’s easier to get sober then live sober.
That first phase, difficult as detox can be, is a lot easier than staying sober. Be prepared to fight for yourself all the time, and never assume you are now ‘not an addict’ and can return to moderate use of your drug of choice.
Relapse, sadly, is likely. It doesn’t mean it’s the end for you- pick yourself back up and get back on track. Don’t allow negativity and judgement to cloud you.
These 10 things every addict should know can help you accept the path ahead and stay true to your need to get sober.