Recovering Addicts Share the Ways Sobriety
and Rehabilitation Changed Their Lives
The life changes that come with lasting sobriety are about far more than just living alcohol and drug-free. There’s much to be gained from clean living, and going to treatment is one of the best ways to get there.
Here are a few ways recovering addicts said life is different for them post-rehabilitation, and how seeking professional treatment helped get them there.
You overcome your social anxieties
Addict or not, most of us have used a substance to ease into a potentially awkward social situation at one time or another. For some, though, it becomes a crutch — and letting go isn’t always easy. Matt said breaking free of that mindset came largely from the support of his recovery peers:
“I’ve worked out a lot of my issues. I’m more open with people. A couple of months ago, I would never have done this. I’m just a really shy person. But meeting all the guys at [Michigan’s A Forever Recovery treatment center] just made me feel comfortable. They helped me get out of my shell. I don’t need to drink to feel comfortable being in my own skin anymore. And it’s just a great feeling.”
For Scott, rehabilitation taught him the beauty of being who he is, regardless of what others may think.
“I spent my whole life worrying about what other people thought about me and what I was saying, but I have learned now that I don’t have to think before I speak,” he said. “It comes out, and it’s the right thing.”
You become unafraid of hard work
It should never be implied that recovery is an easy process. It’s not. In fact, many who have gone to treatment agree it’s the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. But according to Eric, it’s merely a drop in the bucket of life.
“You’ve got to do this for the right reasons and put the work in,” he said. “I’m not going to say it’s easy, because it’s tough work. But what’s 6 to 7 weeks compared to the rest of your life?”
In some ways, continuing to use may seem like the easier route. But Eric pointed out that the stakes that come with taking that path are much, much higher.
“Every time you load that needle up or do whatever you do, it’s like playing Russian Roulette,” he cautioned.
More importantly, Jimmy said rehab shows you that the challenges of attaining sobriety are well-worth the struggle.
“Do the work for yourself and the reward will be mind-boggling,” he said.
You find ways to let go of the past and move forward
We’ve all made mistakes and done things we regret. Alexander told us his addiction led him to become a person he didn’t even recognize, and eventually to lose hope in the idea that he could ever change.
“I started to steal sentimental items from my family, and that really started to tear me apart inside,” he confessed. “It was not who I was at all, so I knew I needed a big change in my life. I was at a very dark point in my life.”
But everything changed when he decided to enter rehabilitation.
“The moment I decided to get treatment, I just instantly felt like I became a hundred pounds lighter,” he recalled.
Perhaps the most important change addiction treatment brings is how you feel about yourself. It helps you let go of the past, let go of your mistakes, and gives you an important realization: you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else.
“It’s just a fantastic feeling. You get through the program and know you’re worth it and know you’re not doing it for anyone else but yourself,” Steven said.
Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. That’s why she created RecognitionWorks.org. The site is dedicated to connecting those who’ve been awarded for exemplary work in their communities to companies and organizations that can help them continue their admirable efforts through donations, sponsorships, and gifts. By making these connections, she hopes to build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.
Mental Muse: The Mental Health Advocacy Meme for Authors invites writers who experience mental health issues to share their answers to five simple questions. I went first in May 2014, you could be next. If you are an author/writer who experiences mental health issues who would like to share how this impacts you professionally/personally, then please click this link to download The Mental Muse questions and instructions. Then, get your answers back to me using MENTAL MUSE ANSWERS as the email subject header. I’ll be in touch. 🙂
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