Recovery changes lives and often means a person is not able to do what they did in the past. They can’t associate with all the same people and can’t go to all the places they may have gone to before. Everything seems to change overnight, which leaves a person feeling like they are starting life over again. In reality, their life has just begun, and the world is more vibrant and alive than when they were dependent on substances and alcohol. Still, it takes time to see the benefits. Successfully completing a treatment program is essential, and incorporating the new outlook and skills into your life can present its own set of challenges. People’s lives change in recovery but can be navigated with a few tips to embrace sober living.
Friendships we had while being dependent on substances often have no longevity or place once a sober life is embraced. Occasionally, if both people receive treatment and begin sober living at the same time, they may be able to remain friends and support one another. Most would expect that the friends that saw the problems and worked to help their friend get sober would remain friends after treatment. Sadly, not even those relationships are guaranteed. Through the treatment process, a person will find themselves and start to develop a better relationship with themselves. Beyond treatment, seeking entirely new friendships with those who understand recovery best, those you met in treatment or recovery meetings can grow new healthier relationships. It’s important to remember that you have the power of choice in who you keep in your life. You also can let go of those who choose not to be a part of your new sober life. With time, you will be able to build the right group of people up around you and learn what friendships mean to you after treatment.
As you leave treatment and shift back into daily life, you may find that what you like to do for fun has changed. You may find that where you once felt the need to be distracted and continuously diverted, you now prefer to relax at home. You may have liked being out in loud environments and now prefer to be in smaller, more mellow crowds. Everything from your level of social interaction to your taste in music and movies is likely to change, or some things could stay precisely the same. The key is to honor your feelings and find what you enjoy doing now, without substances. It’s important to use caution if the things you like doing put you in triggering environments, such as concerts or clubs. If you find you now want to relax at home, make sure you are not socially isolated. The time that was spent acquiring substances and the hours and days lost to addiction are now yours to spend on those parts of life that really matter to you. Use care and find the best way to ease into enjoying your interests and spare time comfortably.
Be Okay Being Awkward
It is alright to feel awkward in early recovery, it is a challenge to re-learn how to cope with life. Fears come out, and stigma and shame are things that you may face in a lot of areas. Alcohol and substances helped you cope, but now you may feel funny or odd, just being yourself. Discovering who you are without substances is strange, it might feel like you don’t know yourself at all. It’s essential to give yourself time to get comfortable in your own skin. There is space to honor how you feel and room to grow into your new life. There is joy in knowing you can be happy being yourself and experiencing life in a vibrant new way.
The best part of recovery is taking risks and tackling challenges you would never have before. Life is different now, and the risks are not the same, so you need to decide what you want to do and with whom. The recovery journey puts you back in control and allows you to make decisions and choices based on your new sober life. For some, it is the first time they honestly can decide what direction their future takes and plan for it. Use the support of your new recovery practices to keep from shrinking back to avoid taking healthy risks. These might be things like going for a promotion, choosing to return to school, traveling, or making new friends. Work through the fear, get counseling, and find support. Don’t let fear hinder you from going out and finding yourself in recovery.
Healing from substance use is a lifetime journey. Still, it does get better over time with the practice of recovery behaviors. Sobriety is not just about abstinence from alcohol. It is a lifestyle choice you take into your own hands. It is an invitation to move forward in life. Everything you have now is a result of who you were then and your choices. Make the most of it now and make positive decisions going forward.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.