Addiction affects everyone differently- we know that. What may not cause any problems for one person can trigger a life-altering substance abuse disorder. Some people may be able to give up their substance of choice and never look back; others will experience relapse along their journey. While each sober journey is definitely unique, there’s still some common factors, specifically in what we think. Here are 10 questions we all ask ourselves in early recovery?
1: Is This Really My Life Now?
We all have that moment of clarity when we realize just how dependent we were on drugs or alcohol to get through the day. It’s jarring to truly see how much your life changes when you commit to sobriety- you realize how much of your day to day life was focused on getting drunk or high, reflect on all the things you did and how much money you ran through. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed in this moment, remember: with sobriety comes a new shot at accomplishing your dreams.
2: Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Drinking/Using?
This is one of those things that can easily trip you straight into relapse, so be careful. It’s also the number one thing people who have never experienced addiction don’t understand about the recovery process- it’s not over just because you completed rehab. Urges and thoughts about using are normal in early recovery, but you can utilize the techniques you learned during treatment to stay above the temptation and thrive. You’ll be so proud of yourself when you do.
3: Am I weak for feeling so tempted?
Absolutely not! Addiction is a disease of the mind; it reroutes your brain neurologically, leading it to believe that drugs or alcohol are vital to your continued survival- they are not. Even after time has proven it, addiction has a way of sneaking back up and attempting to take back over. You don’t have to let it. Recognize that those thoughts and feelings are urges and they will pass; identify what triggered them to be better prepared in the future. You’ve got this.
4: What If Drinking/Using Drugs is Just Part of Who I Am?
This is another way addiction tries to re-establish control- by making you question if recovery is the right thing to do. Maintaining your sobriety is always the answer; while addiction and substance abuse may have genetic ties, that does not mandate that you must live in misery. Don’t quit on us now, and don’t let anyone convince you that addiction is your fate: they are wrong.
5: Will This Ever Get Easier?
Yes, it gets easier every day! You won’t notice it at first, but it pops up in those little moments. One day you’ll look up and realize it’s been a long time since you had an intense craving. Eventually your sober date becomes a day you look forward you, not one you have to hope will happen. Remain focused and keep your sobriety above all else.
6: Why Are There So Many Hours in a Day?!
When your focus isn’t on getting high or drunk, you’ll find that you have more free time than normal- sometimes a lot more. This could be a pitfall for some; being idle can be lead to undesirable outcomes. Here’s where your hobbies, working, and other goals come in. Keep yourself occupied and on task throughout the day: you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve.
7: Do I Need to Tell Everyone I’m in Recovery?
Hesitance about revealing your past to new people in understanding. It’s unfortunate, but we still deal with stigmas and misinformation about people with substance abuse disorders and people in recovery. They cost people job opportunities, relationships, and sometimes even basic dignity. So, the answer is no, you don’t have to be open about your recovery- but I do urge you to be. The only way we will overcome the stigmas and misinformation is by being more visible, more vocal, and standing as proof that addiction does not mean worthless.