Only 10% of people struggling with addiction ever receive treatment.
Sobriety is hard to achieve. Addictions can be cunning and baffling. However, they can be overcome with the right approach and support.
If you are fortunate to have found sobriety, you will be ready to enjoy life after drugs and alcohol. However, rebuilding your life after addiction can be another significant challenge that you must face.
If you’ve taken part in a 12-step program, you will understand that overcoming your addiction is not just a case of stopping drink, drugs, gambling, or unwanted sexual behavior; it is about becoming a better person and making amends for your wrongs.
Life after addiction involves facing up to your previous behavior and learning to change your ways.
Here are some ways that you can learn how to live a good life after addiction.
Don’t Let go of Your Therapy
For many people building their life after recovery, there is a tendency to assume that after the end of a course of addictions treatment that they are completely recovered. Some may think that they can go back to their lives as a new person.
Unfortunately, life after recovery from addiction is not that simple. Your addiction will have changed you, and you will face daily challenges that will test your sobriety.
If you believe yourself to be completely cured, you may sleepwalk into a relapse.
For that reason, it is essential that you continue to work on your addiction long after you have a considerable amount of sobriety under your belt.
You can do this by being part of a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous and by regularly having sessions with a counselor or a drugs and alcohol therapist.
Check your triggers and your feelings every day. Keep attending 12-step meetings and never stop evaluating your behavior even when things are going well for you.
If things are going well, use the benefits that you have gained through the recovery process to help others struggling with their addictions.
Take Things Slowly
Your addiction will have changed you in ways that you may not be aware of yet. As you embark on your new sober life, you will be interacting with people in ways that you might not have done for many years, if not ever.
This can throw up many complicated emotions to those recovering from addiction. Having to deal with social situations can become overwhelming, especially since you no longer have the emotional crutch of your addiction to help you.
Your interactions with others may highlight defects of your character that may have developed as a result of your addiction. When you are faced with all of your shortcomings, you may be overwhelmed and feel as though you have to fix everything quickly.
You will need to understand that you cannot possibly fix everything all at once. Instead, work on small elements and look at making gradual changes.
Understand the Expectations Others Have of You
Speak to the people that you are close to, whether that is family members or a partner, and find out what they need from you.
Your addiction will have meant that you might not have been fully present emotionally in your relationships. You will have neglected the needs of others. Speak with them to find out what they need from you.
You will need to learn or relearn how to be that person; it won’t happen instantly. However, through a continual reflection on how you behave and how that affects others, you will start to learn more habits that will help you meet the expectations of others.
Find New Activities to Fill You Life After Addiction
When you start to live a sober life, you may be surprised at how much time and energy you will have previously spent feeding your addiction.
This might lead to lots of spare time. You might not know quite what to do with yourself.
Keeping emotionally, physically, and mentally active are vital in your recovery. Not only will having hobbies and interests to focus on help prevent a relapse, but they will also help you to engage in life. You’ll develop enthusiasm and passion for your activities.
The positive feelings that you take from your activities will allow you to be more present and engaged with life. If you start to feel good about yourself, this will help you to be an easier person to be around.
Surround Yourself With Sober Friends
If your addiction used to mean that you spent time with other addicts, once you are in recovery, you will need to find sober friends to be around.
Spending time with people who are still addicts when you are enjoying life after drug addiction can cause you to reminisce about your old life. It may also leave the door open to temptations.
Your old friends may not be in a position in their lives where they are ready to seek sobriety, and as a result, you might find a conflict between their addiction and your recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
Learn to understand that you need to take care of yourself. This means getting plenty of sleep, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.
You may want to include activities such as yoga or meditation into your daily routine to help you find a calm state of mind.
Keep Working It You’re Worth It
Life after addiction is a constant learning curve. There will be challenges in life that occur, and you will have previously turned to your addiction to help you process these problems in the past. However, now you are sober; you will need to learn to deal with them in a new way.
There will be times when things go wrong, but that is just how life goes. Learning to accept the things that you can’t change will be a major part of living a good life after addiction.
Keep working it. You’re worth it.
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